Hannah Moore

Primary Teacher

St. Serf's Primary

  • Assessment For Learning

What happens when I introduce SMART targets to my pupils?


Why was the enquiry chosen and what relevance is it to you?
Within our group, we felt that certain children in our classes lacked motivation when it came to assessing and discussing their work. We explored possible reasons behind their lack of enthusiasm, whether it was fear of being wrong or lack of confidence or uncertainty around self-assessment. We decided to explore target setting within our classes and introduced SMART targets, which were small, measureable, achievable, realistic and timely, to observe the impact this may have on our pupils’ motivation and self-esteem. The Curriculum for Excellence recognises that a child’s motivation can be vulnerable to the processes and outcomes of assessment and therefore aims to actively involve children in the assessment of their own learning in order to enhance motivation (Scottish Government, 2010). Target setting in the classroom helps children to identify their strengths and areas for development. Hayward and Spencer (2014) highlight that when targets are negotiated with pupils, they become personal and meaningful to the learner, which can help to build motivation. High quality feedback is essential when setting SMART targets as this allows the children to move forward and identify the next steps in their learning (Scottish Government, 2008). Introducing SMART targets within my class was important to me as I wanted my pupils to reflect on their work, develop confidence when tackling new experiences and take ownership of their learning by setting their own achievable targets.


The aim of this enquiry was to investigate the impact SMART targets within literacy have on pupils’ motivation and self-esteem within a primary 3/2 class.

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