Tips to Teach Your Students About SMART Goal-Setting

By Huntington Learning Center

If you encourage your students to set goals, make sure they’re SMART goals. SMART is an acronym for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely. This system of goal setting helps students be more focused and responsible for their learning, showing them how to break down big goals into smaller tasks that are easier to track. Here are a few tips to share with your students as they engage in this valuable process:

  • Specific – Avoid any vague terms. Define the goal as clearly as possible and make sure you outline the who the goal involves, what is to be accomplished, where, and why it is a goal for the student.
  • Measurable – Students need to track their progress so that they know they’re making headway (and will know when their goal is achieved).
  • Achievable – Achievable goals are within the realm of possibility—meaning, students have the resources they need to take steps toward them. The goals must be realistic, and students must have control over the actions that are necessary to reach them.
  • Relevant – Goals must have a purpose. In other words, your students should think about whether the goals they set are worthwhile. They should be linked to their long-term visions for themselves.
  • Timely – A clearly defined timeframe with specific milestones/due dates is important for any SMART goal.

As you teach your students about SMART goals, it helps to share an example of a SMART goal like the one below:

Because I want to major in engineering in college (relevant), I want to increase my math grade to a 90% between now, February 10, 2024, and June 1, 2024 (specific/timely) by attending 90% of the Tuesday morning study sessions and spending 15 minutes each weeknight reviewing class notes, in addition to completing any assigned homework (measurable/achievable). 

Questions about setting SMART goals? Contact Huntington at 1-800 CAN LEARN.