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Cedar Rapids: Student Reflection and Goal-Setting Pilot

Cedar Rapids Community School District (CRCSD) wanted to solve a problem in their district: “How might we provide relevant, standards-aligned feedback to students so that every student reaches mastery?” After seeking stakeholder input and brainstorming a range of options, the design team decided to pilot a reflection and goal-setting process with students.

This pilot had several assumed benefits. It could help students understand the “why” behind learning and make authentic connections between courses and the world around them. It could also help teachers give more personalized feedback in alignment with the district’s goal of adopting standards-based grading; this process helped teachers and students reflect on their learning progress and chart a course toward mastery together.

To keep the pilot simple, the team followed these steps:

  1. The design team started with a single learning task in one middle school classroom.

  2. Students completed a goal-setting template after an assessment to reinforce the learning task and its purpose, reflect on what they did well, and set goals to reach the next level of mastery.

  3. The teacher tracked simple measures for engagement and performance for each student and the class as a whole.

  4. Finally, the design team worked with the teacher to document the process and lessons learned in hopes of expanding the pilot to other classrooms later.

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