Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education (MAE)



First Advisor

Susan O'Connor

Second Advisor

Jason Lukasik


Content standards, most often provided by a local, state, or federal governing body, guide schools and teachers through essential knowledge and skills students need to master during the course of their education. Teachers use content standards to drive both instruction, assessment, and to help define a level of proficient achievement. Yet, how often do we explicitly define and present to students exactly the goals of our instruction and our perforrnance expectations? Educational standards arose initially in response to the 1983, "A Nation at Risk," report which found that high school curricula was not adequately preparing students for either vocational or post-secondary education tracks. Additionally, the majority of high school curricula and course offerings were driven by student and teacher interest. High school curricula lacked consistency between schools, districts, and states, as well as a central focus (The National Commission on E,xcellence in Education, 1983). More recently, the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), brought to light again the need for rigorous educational standards. NCLB set forth specifrc content grade level expectations for reading, math, and science (Stecher & Verne z, 2010) Most content standards? as written, encompass far more than any single lesson could cover. Benchmarks are smaller, more specific pieces of content. Within the current nature and publication of educational content standards, most standards are composed of multiple learning benchrnarks. Content standards and benchmark are written as tools to drive instruction, assessrnent, and performance expectations. To provide a genuine, consistent, and coherent public education, our adherence to these standards is essential. Learning targets are lesson-sized chunks of material derived from content standards and benchmarks that are carefully written in student friendly terms. The goal of a learning target to convey with as much clarity as possible, not only the specific information students need to learn and master from the instruction, but also how they can demonstrate their proficiency. Learning targets, when framed as actionable questions or directives, have the opportunity to act as formative assessments that both students and teachers can use to monitor learning. Through action research grounded in individual and small group student feedback as well as participant observation, this investigation sought to learn and understand students'perspectives of the use of daily learning targets to guide instruction. Specifically, I asked students to provide feedback regarding their ability to self-regulate their comprehension of classroom content, any impact having a specific focal point may have on their levels of engagement or attention, and the potential impact the use of daily learning targets had on their ability to self-assess their mastery of the material.


SC 11.MAE.2017.Sill.K

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