27 September 2023

Refine and support goal setting

Suggestion for implementing the strategy ‘Planning using UDL in intermediate and secondary settings’

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Increase relevance and authenticity

Increase relevance and authenticity

Wayne Robinson outlines how he ensures students understand the purpose of a task and how it connects to real life.

Check for hidden barriers

Check for hidden barriers

Barriers to achivement can be hidden in the way we communicate goals or learning intentions.

Example of an assignment:

Students will be able to write a report about how ways to increase birdlife at school.

This is two tasks in one: write a report and demonstrate understanding about birdlife in the local area.

When setting goals (intentions):

  • identify the purpose and make explicit will be assessed
  • check for hidden barriers to achievement
  • if possible offer students flexible ways to demonstrate understanding
  • if a skill such as “write” is included in the goal, ensure supports such as text-to-speech, graphic organisers, word prediction are offered to all students.

Source: Adapted from Goal-based design and the BC curriculum (opens in a new tab/window)

Support individual goal setting

Support individual goal setting

Give students consistent, meaningful reminders to help them set goals, organise themselves, and make a plan.

Explore more suggestions on Goalbook Toolkit.

  • Provide models or examples of the planning process.
  • Provide guides and checklists for scaffolding goal-setting.
  • Post goals, objectives, and schedules in an obvious place.
  • Involve students in creating what the outcome might look like.
  • Break the process up into small steps with visual, video, and verbal supports. 
  • Offer problem solving checklists.

Source: Design and deliver (opens in a new tab/window)

Reflection questions

Reflection questions

Consider these questions for your own context.

  • How do I present learning goals and objectives in varied and flexible ways to support engagement and understanding?
  • How do I ensure students understand the purpose AND value of an activity?
  • How do I make sure students don’t confuse the goal with the means of achieving it?
  • How do I offer varied and flexible pathways to success?

Source: Adapted from CAST UDL curriculum self-check (opens in a new tab/window)

Useful resources

Useful resources


Top 10 UDL tips for developing learning goals

A downloadable PDF from CAST with ten tips about learning goals from a UDL perspective

Publisher: CAST

Download PDF

Next steps

Return to the guide “Universal Design for Learning”

Guide to Index of the guide: Universal Design for Learning

Strategies for action: