How to Create Super SMART Writing Goals: 3 Easy Steps

Objectives For The Skills

What should a student who has completed the general education program be able to do in the way of writing, critical thinking, speaking, using information technology, quantitative analyzing, and researching?

Below are general goal statements and lists of behavioral objectives for each skill the general education program addresses. The general education council, working with selected faculty, and then receiving wide input from faculty, formulated these objectives. The council believes that these intellectual and practical skills are integral to the mission and goals of the general education program. The council welcomes your input on the formulation of these objectives.

NOTE WELL: As of September 2001, the Council voted to eliminate the skill of information technology and to include a reference to “computer literacy” in the set of skills now labeled information and computer literacy. This set of skills integrates three basic skills, research, information technology and critical thinking.

1) Written Communication
The overall objective is to develop students’ written expression of thought and provide learners opportunities to explore ideas and to build connections between content areas. Written communication objectives for students completing the general education program are:

1. Demonstrate the capacity to use various writing forms, (for example, in-class responses, journals, notebooks, reports, argumentative essays, research papers, and others) to achieve the specific purposes of the course.
2. Exemplify ethical writing practices (i.e., avoid plagiarism, use of an appropriate citation style) in all forms of written communication.
3. Demonstrate the capacity to effectively integrate multiple sources (primary and secondary, electronic and print) into the writing assignments of the course.
4. Demonstrate improvements in written expression of thought by utilizing various techniques (such as peer review, multiple drafts or revisions of assignments after receiving feedback).

2) Oral Communication
The overall objective is to develop students’ oral communication skills by a variety of communication activities, from informal discussion to formal presentation. Oral communication objectives for students completing the general education program are:

1. Clearly state questions, concerns, and ideas so that both the instructor and other students can understand the intent.
2. Verbally condense larger amounts of information into concise, condensed analysis.
3. Discuss among various size groups of students so as to be able to contribute without over powering others.
4. Give a clear, organized and accurate oral presentation of course material (for example, summaries of readings, research projects, analyses of arguments, persuasive speeches and others).

3) Critical Thinking
The overall objective is to develop students’ reasoning abilities by incorporating reasoning tasks and practices into general education courses. Critical thinking objectives for students completing the general education program are:

1. Identify and state arguments.
2. Identify the main point in a passage or essay and state the reasons that support a given choice.
3. Identify assumptions and state the implications of an argument, passage, or theory.
4. Critically evaluate arguments in terms of the strength of evidence and reasoning.
5. Write an essay that comes to well-reasoned conclusions and solutions, supported by relevant evidence, and tested against relevant criteria and standards.

4) Quantitative Analysis
The overall objective of quantitative analysis is to provide students with an approach to problem solving through logic and reasoning. It is used to identify, analyze, generalize and communicate quantitative relationships. Quantitative analysis objectives for students completing the general education program are:

1. Translate problems into mathematical form.
2. Construct and interpret visual representations of mathematical relationships.
3. Determine quantitative relationships and solutions to problems.
4. Clearly communicate quantitative relationships and solutions.
5. Apply mathematical concepts to real world situations.
6. Draw inferences from data that could be incomplete under conditions that are uncertain.

5) Research
The overall objective is to ensure that students are able to formulate a researchable question and can identify and utilize resources in order to document findings and draw conclusions. Research objectives for students completing the general education program are:

1. Identify types of resources necessary to formulate a researchable question.
2. Utilize credible resources as a tool for academic research.
3. Draw conclusions based on the results of the research.
4. Document research findings, using accepted forms of scholarly citation.
5. Communicate the outcome of the research findings.

Step 2: Create SMART Writing Project Goals for the Year

Take that vision and select writing projects that will help you realize it. A project could be something you write such as a book, thesis, blog, or collection of poems. It can also be a deadline for something you need to do such as take an exam like the SAT, GRE, TOEFL, IELTS, etc.

Your writing goals should be SMART? No, I don’t mean “A +” smart. SMART is an acronym for the 5 characteristics all good goals should have: they should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

S = Specific –Effective goals have a narrow focus. They are specific and describe what you want to achieve. They are not vague or general. For example, “I will write a non-fiction book” as opposed to “I will write more

M=Measurable—This aspect of a SMART goal provides a way to assess/evaluate how much of your goal you achieved. Usually, you will have a goal with a specific number of something. “I will write a non-fiction book.” Here you will see that I need to write one non-fiction book. I can tell if I’ve met my goal, exceeded it, or missed it.

A=Achievable/ Achievable +—A goal is achievable if you can see yourself reaching it in a certain amount of time. However, I recommend writing goals above what you think you can achieve (Achievable +). Bigger goals motivate you more and make you work harder. Take what seems within your reach and double it. Instead of “I will write a 5-page essay by the end of the month,” say, “I will write two 5-page essays by the end of the month.”

R=Relevant— A goal needs to be related to the overall purpose of what you want to achieve for your life. Go back to the self-vision you wrote. What goals will help you make your vision for the future a reality? If your vision is to become a straight-A student, and you know you need to be a better writer, the goal, “I will write two 5-7 page papers by the end of the month” will help you reach your vision. If your vision is to be a best-selling non-fiction author, the goal: I will write and publish a book, will make that dream happen.

T=Time-bound—This aspect of a goal is where you include a deadline. It’s nice to have a goal of writing a book—but when will you reach it? In three months, six months, or by the end of the year? To make a goal time-bound, write a deadline (Month, Day, and Year). For example, “I will write and publish a non-fiction book by September 31st, 2021.”

Goal #1 I will write a scholarship essay for The Delete Cyberbullying Scholarship Award by June 1st, 2021. As you can see this is a SMART Goal because it’s specific (name of the scholarship essay), measurable (write one essay) achievable (actually this is achievable + because you are writing it several days before the scholarship deadline), relevant (if you want to afford college) and time-bound ( the deadline is June 1st).

Goal #2 I will write one 20-page research paper that earns an A for my history class by April 30th, 2021. Again, this goal is specific (what the paper is for and the name of the class), measurable (it’s a 20-page research paper), achievable + (the paper will earn an A grade), relevant (if you want to be a high-achieving student) and time-bound (the deadline is April 3Oth).

Write your SMART writing project goals for the year on a piece of paper, in a planner, on a computer, or any other place that is visible. Make sure you can read your goals regularly.