A good way for students to begin evaluating is to take a broad view and ask a few general, thought provoking questions. This broader view can allow for an emphasis on learning and application of what is learned. They can begin by asking, “What do I need to know to evaluate past performance?” Asking this question first allows them to begin asking good questions about past performance and changes they would like to make, gathering the information they need to answer their questions, and then making specific decisions based on those answers.
“How can I use this information I just learned to apply to my goal setting?” This process provides a conduit for setting their goals. After asking what is needed, they can apply the information gathered in a productive manner. A thorough review will then lead to asking, “How am I doing right now? How am I feeling about the new semester?” This is a reality check-in. To make effective goals through evaluation, being realistic about where they are in the process is essential. Determining where they are right now can set the foundation for continuous improvement and allow for their goals to be relevant, meaningful, and achievable.
Finally, ask, “What goals do I need to create/set to improve or change for the future?” This is now where students should set their goals or make New Year’s resolutions. Students should choose a goal that has a foreseeable and measurable outcome.
After using the evaluation process, students will be able to examine why they were successful, where they were challenged, and/or why they failed in the past. If they are honest with themselves, and do this without a fear of negative consequences, they will be able to create measurable and achievable goals. An optional, but important, final step could be for students to share their new goals/resolutions with you as an accountability measure. Not necessarily as a means of punishment if your student goes off-track or doesn’t meet the goal, but as a way to receive council, encouragement, or motivation along the way. A good tool in the parental toolkit may be to encourage your student to set a reward for themselves if they achieve their goal or keep the resolution.