Constructor Lab
Leadership Summit
Edtech Advocacy &
Policy Summit

Empower Students Through Goal-Setting and Reflection

Location: W176a

Participate and share

Participate and share : Interactive lecture

Sunday, June 24, 2:30–3:30 pm
Location: W176a

Eric Bjornstad   Rupa Gupta  
People's Choice winner. Students are empowered by a digital goal-setting and reflection platform to leverage specific skills and master core concepts. Reflecting on how one learns becomes even more important than the content. It creates better, more empowered learners.

Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Focus: Digital age teaching & learning
Topic: Personalized learning
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Use technology to create, adapt and personalize learning experiences that foster independent learning and accommodate learner differences and needs.
For Students:
Empowered Learner
  • Students articulate and set personal learning goals, develop strategies leveraging technology to achieve them and reflect on the learning process itself to improve learning outcomes.
Disclosure: The submitter of this session has been supported by a company whose product is being included in the session

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Participant outcomes / technology employed:
*Participants will know and be able to implement proven protocols and practices to empower students in goal-setting, self-tracking, and reflection.
*Attendees will also learn how to use Sown To Grow (, an online platform designed for students to go through these steps embedded in the day-to-day learning process. It also provides teachers with data and insights to inform instructional practice.

Educational challenge:
*Supporting students in getting better at the PROCESS of learning in addition to mastering content and skills. We hope to put the theory on metacognition into practice.
*Engage, empower and motivate students through the goal-setting and reflection process. Instead of school being “done” to students, they are empowered to set their own goals and learn different strategies to meet them. These skills differentially impact and support at-risk students.
*We hope to create confident, self-driven, growth-oriented learners. With learning skills, they can reach their full potential – today and throughout their lives.

Models employed:
*Consistent formative assessment, where students have clarity on what they will learn (learning intentions), how they can demonstrate it (success criteria), and engage in self and peer assessment to revise and grow.

Instructional strategies employed:
*This presentation and learnings are based on implementation in the classroom.
*Mr. Bjornstad implemented a consistent routine of goal-setting and reflection utilizing the Sown To Grow platform with 110 students in his high school Chemistry classes.
*Students set learning goals, tracked their own progress, and wrote reflections on the strategies that work best for them (or new ones they wanted to try). The focus was on lab skills employed throughout the year across multiple units.
*Mr. Bjornstad set expectations, monitored growth, provided consistent feedback on reflections, and used student data insights to improve his instructional practice.

Evidence of success:
*Performance growth on skills, as demonstrated by examples of student work, grades, and student-written reflections on learning strategies (screenshots within the Sown To Grow platform illustrate these well)
*3rd party evaluation data on how the goal-setting and reflection process leads to increase student performance
*There was also evidence of improvement in quality of peer feedback on skills, again demonstrating deeper learning.


If possible, we would love to be considered for a one-hour interactive lecture (instead of the 30-min Listen & Learn Snapshot). We’ve included an outline of the longer presentation and also noted how we would shorten.

Interactive opening (10 minutes):
*Interactive opening activity where teachers are putting themselves in the position of students on a new task, and go through a cycle of reflection in this role.
*We’ve done this activity in PD sessions before, and it illuminates how powerful reflection can be in the learning process. It’s also really fun :)

Practices and protocols (10 minutes)
*Mr. Bjorstand’s process of implementing goal setting and reflection
*Strategies and protocols executed in the classroom
*Evidence of student growth

Co-creation of reflection rubric and feedback guidance (20 minutes)
*Attendees engage with real student reflections, rate their quality and develop a rubric for assessing learning skills
*Attendees create feedback prompts on how they would improve student reflection (e.g., prompting questions, instructional strategies, etc)
*Resources and guidance provided by the presenters

Practical tips (15 minutes)
*How to get started
*How to frame and launch with students
*How to best set up in Sown To Grow to get the most out of the process
*Closing reflection activity (5 min)

If only a 30-min session is possible, we would eliminate the co-creation section and reduce the timing equally across all the other sections.

Supporting research

There are multiple researchers focused on the process of learning, and illuminating how student ownership, goal-setting and reflection on learning strategies can be game-changing for learners. Well known research includes:

*Carol Dweck’s landmark research on growth mindset, where students understand that intelligence is developed with hard work and productive effort rather than through innate ability alone (Dweck, 2006). A critical piece of putting mindset theory into practice is to focus on learning strategies. In an interview, Dweck emphasized: “It’s not just effort, but strategy. You don’t want learners redoubling their efforts with the same ineffective strategies. You want them to know when to ask for help and when to use resources that are available (Gross-Loh, 2016).” Student-led reflection enables this shift.

*John Hattie’s work on visible learning focuses on the impact of a variety of instructional practices. He found that students self-reporting and reflecting on their learning has one of the largest impacts on student achievement (Hattie, 2011). The effect size is 1.44 compared to an average of 0.4.

*Stephen Chappuis and Jan Chappuis have led breakthrough research on formative assessment for growth (vs. summative assessment to judge learning). The process of student reflection and teacher feedback on strategies is core to implementing effective formative assessment practices (Chappuis, 2005). In a recent publication, Chappuis writes: “When students use feedback from the teacher to learn how to self-assess and set goals, they increase ownership of their own success. In this type of assessment environment, teachers and students collaborate in an ongoing process using assessment information to improve rather than judge learning.”

More [+]


Eric Bjornstad, LTHS

Eric Bjornstad is a K-12 Science and Impact team consultant to school districts throughout the United States. During his 15 years as a classroom educator, Eric has taught numerous courses in mathematics in addition to science at the high school level in three different states. As a consultant, he works with teams of teachers to align their curriculum to standards, to insert formative practices into their everyday instruction, as well as increase their collective efficacy working as a team within their district. Eric currently teaches at Lyons Township High School located in the greater Chicago area, where he also resides.

Rupa Gupta, Sown To Grow

People also viewed

Are You Future Ready? 18 Challenges to Increase Student Outcomes
Creating Innovative Thinkers Through Design Thinking
Table1: Improving reading instruction: Advantages of providing tiered, year-long implementation support