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Intake & Orientation

Evidence-based Strategies - Examples, Research and Tools

Strategy g: Discuss students’ persistence, learning and aspirations. Begin the process of exploring and articulating long and short-term goals, and of constructing a learning plan that addresses instructional and support services that move them toward their goals. 


Changing Practice, Expanding Minds
Kate Nonesuch
A fascinating description of the author's efforts to respect and work with student resistance. Research in her class uncovered a positive correlation between student expression of resistance and student retention.

Learning Matters: Orientation and Goal-setting
Agnes Precure
Written for Oregon’s community college-based system, this is a concise list of key "do's and don'ts" for developing an orientation process that supports persistence and quality services.

Making it Worth the Stay: Findings from the New England Learner Persistence Project, pp. 38-39
Andy Nash and Silja Kallenbach
These pages describe the strategies New England programs used to help students plan and follow a learning path.

Making it Worth the Stay: Findings from the New England Learner Persistence Project, pp. 55-56
Andy Nash and Silja Kallenbach
These pages describe the strategies New England programs used to engage students in discussions about their aspirations, persistence, and learning.

Retention through Redirection Protocol - Feature # 2: An effective process for helping learners set realistic career and employment goals
College Sector Committee on Adult Upgrading
The authors reviewed program policies (procedures, handbooks and guidelines) from nine colleges in Canada to see how attendance, progress and conduct were addressed. They also asked practitioners about specific retention supports or strategies that might uphold their policies. They describe strategies and approaches for setting short- and long-term goals.


EFF Research Principle: A Purposeful and Transparent Approach to Teaching and Learning
Marilyn K. Gillespie
This digest summarizes the research basis for "a purposeful and transparent approach to learning," and provides three examples of programs applying the principle by designing instruction that is explicitly responsive to adults’ real-life needs.

The Effects of Continuing Goal-Setting on Persistence in a Math Classroom
Pam Meader
Periodically revisiting student goals in this math class improved the course completion rate and overall attendance of students. It also provided the teacher with information about what students felt were their most important supports and barriers.

Goal-Setting in the New River Valley: Teachers’ Perceptions and Strategies
Sue Barton
Inquiry into how teachers are setting goals with students shows that they use a variety of strategies and hold a range of perspectives on the benefits and challenges.

Is Goal Setting Primary to Every Student?
Susan Bubp
In this practitioner research study, groups of current and former students were asked about what makes them stay and succeed in their studies. Findings show that supportive relationships with teachers and peers was the overriding factor and that up-front goal-setting is not effective for all students.


Adult Learner Goals Toolkit
Colorado Department of Education/Adult Education and Family Literacy
This resource includes dozens of tools, drawn from state and national projects. They address: setting goals, exploring feelings around goal work, revisiting goals to show progress or revise the goals, and celebrating accomplishments.

Equipped for the Future (EFF) Teaching/Learning Toolkit
Steps 1 and 2 in the EFF Toolkit include concrete tools and processes for helping students reflect on and name their goals, and then develop a step-by-step learning plan.

Group Goal Setting Activities: An Approach from Youth Service Corp
Excerpted from the PECE Resource and Planning Guide
Developed as part of a community service/education program for out-of-school youth, this guide treats goal-setting as a process of problem-solving – defining options and figuring out how to make choices. This article illustrates the process through a series of activities that are applicable to adults.

HERC Goals Worksheet
A program-developed tool for helping students think about their goals and priorities.

Multiple Intelligences and Goal Setting
A list of ways students can express their goals using each of their multiple intelligences.

Student/Teacher Evaluation and Planning Session (STEPS)
Lennox McClendon
This resource outlines a series of conversations educators can have with students to help them clarify their reasons for learning, make and monitor a learning plan, and evaluate their satisfaction.

Supports and Barriers Activities
National Center for the Study of Adult Language and Literacy
Six activities developed by NCSALL to help students explore the supports and barriers that affect their ability to persist in their studies.