Co-Constructed Goal Setting: An Intervention to Raise Writing Achievement
International and New Zealand research continues to identify student underachievement in writing. The present study examines whether co-constructed goal setting can improve primary-aged students’ writing achievement. An intervention was implemented at a low-decile, urban contributing primary school, mid-way through the 30-week study. The intervention was delivered in the form of a professional development session, and was evaluated by comparing progress after the implementation with progress made in an equal period prior to it. The intervention sought to improve the teacher participants’ (=4) understanding of how to effectively implement the practice of co-constructed learning goals. A quasi-experimental research design was used to identify the effect of co-constructed goals on the 86 year 4, 5, and 6 students’ writing achievement.
A quantitative approach was first taken to monitor students’ writing achievement; data were collected using the e-asTTle revised 2012) online learning and assessment tool. A questionnaire administered at the beginning and end of the study was used to gain insight into teachers’ perspectives on their own practice, and to monitor any changes resulting from the intervention.
The data suggested that the co-constructed goal-setting intervention was successful in raising the writing achievement of low-achieving students, although there was no significant effect on the achievement of the remaining participants. This is possibly because three out of the four participating teachers were found to have been employing co-constructed learning goals prior to the commencement of the study, which contributed to their students making consistently good progress over the 30-weeks duration of the study, including the period prior to the intervention.
The findings of the present study indicate that if implemented correctly, co-constructed learning goals can assist in raising the writing achievement of lower-achieving students.