Are high grades really synonyms for achieving success

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Are high grades really synonyms for achieving success

Todd Zakrajsek, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill Researchers note the relationship between setting challenging goals and student achievement 1. Both laboratory and field studies consistently demonstrated decades ago that setting specific and challenging goals leads to enhanced performance 2.

In addition to the immediate increased student achievement resulting from setting goals, completing challenging goals is also closely related to increased self-esteem and self-efficacy 3. Although there is ample evidence that setting challenging goals has a number of positive outcomes, this does not mean students come to our classes ready and able to establish solid learning goals for themselves.

Are high grades really synonyms for achieving success

As faculty, we must find ways to not only develop challenging learning environments for our students, but to create learning environments whereby students set goals that challenge themselves.

Inspiring students to set and achieve challenging goals is highly correlated with most IDEA items, although it is most strongly related to items 2 helped students answer their own questions7 explained reasons for criticismsand 8 stimulated intellectual effort.

These items pertain to motivating students to take some responsibility for their own learning and to giving a rationale for feedback provided to the student. Interestingly, item 15 does not correlate with items 33 amount of reading and 35 difficulty of the subjectand it correlates only weakly with item 34 amount of course work.

Are high grades really synonyms for achieving success

This suggests difficulty and amount of reading do not result in students setting challenging goals for themselves, and that amount of work assigned may not be a critical factor. The inspiration to set, accept, and achieve goals must come from the students. That said, the teacher can help students to set reasonable goals by demonstrating that course objectives and assignments are reasonable, relevant, and achievable.

For example, researchers 4 have noted that when students value the time they spend preparing for class, they are more involved and more positive in their attitudes.

There are a few things you can do in your course to inspire students to set and to achieve challenging goals. Everyone is more willing to work longer and harder when there is value to the task to be completed.

There are many ways to show the direct application of the material in the class: Find a way to show students that the material learned can be used to directly help individuals or to solve pervasive issues in society.

I have asked my introductory psychology course to do this on a number of occasions with solid success. The only requirements I present to the class are that I need to be able to assign them a grade that reflects their mastery of the material, and they need to be cognizant that within the class there exist multiple learning preferences.

The students decide on the number of examinations, the days of examinations, types of papers to be written, and other aspects of the course. I can make adjustments to maintain standards, but overall I have found that I will end up with a syllabus and course that students are more invested in because they have helped to create it and have assisted in setting course goals and assessment measures.

For example, if students know that their final projects will be published on the web, they will challenge themselves to complete more extensive projects 5. In order to realize success, students need to have prompt and informative feedback as they complete their projects.

It is also important that students develop an understanding or awareness of their own level of performance. Metacognition, or knowing what one knows, is an important skill for students to develop in meeting challenging goals. Evidence suggests that when students are taught to develop improved metacognitive skills, they are more likely to meet goals and achievement improves 6, 7.

Grade contracts have been reported to reduce the anxiety level of the student by having them focus on tasks, instead of worrying about specific grades on specific assignments.

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Research has demonstrated that grade contracting results in enhanced student learning and in students setting challenging goals in the course by contracting for a high grade at the beginning of the semester 8. It is well accepted that expectations of high levels of work will result in higher level of work.

This turns into a wonderful self-fulfilling prophecy when challenging goals are encouraged, supported, and realized. There are many ways in which emerging technologies can be used to assist students with setting and achieving challenging goals. Online polls can be used to gather student input on course goals relevant to their interests.When it comes to on-page SEO, I’m sure you’ve heard enough about meta tags and keyword density for one lifetime.

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