Objectives vs Goals
What is the difference between an objective and goal?
Goals Are Broad
The goal above, to raise a happy, confident, self-directed learner, is quite broad. Goals are the heart
of education. It identifies the over-arching purpose you have for your child.
Of course you want your child to be able to function at home, in the community, and in society at large. Here are some examples of functional goals
- To read and write
- To perform math calculation and do basic algebra
- Operate a computer
- Drive a car
- Remain physically fit
- Play an instrument
- Pass college entrance exams
Functional goals cover basic skills. Some educators down play the basics due to a desire to deepen the ability to analyze. This is a big mistake, simply because a person who is missing those basic skills does not have the tools with which he or she can analyze the world around them. Analytical skills build on
basic skills and don't replace them.
In a nutshell we can say our goal is that our students:
analyze causes that have shaped the world and the effects they have had on society.
Or in short:
CAUSE & EFFECT
- Recognize influences on world and national history
- Analyze the effects of the laws of science on the physical world
- Assess good and evil and make positive choices
Goals of expertise indicate a student is a master of a particular subject. They have passed the goal of analysis and can create or synthesize phenomenon in their subject field.
Instead of analyzing cause and effect, the individual is causing an effect
The goals might be to become:
- An accomplished concert pianist
- A pediatric thoracic surgeon
- A loving spouse and parent
An expertise goal indicates what material a student plans to master in order to become a recognized expert in his or her field.
Objectives Are Specific and Measurable
If goals tell what
you want to accomplish, objectives tell how
you know if it has been accomplished.
Thus objectives are:
- Behavioral - state what the student must do to demonstrate they have accomplished the objective.
More information is listed below on what types of behaviors indicate students have achieved educational objectives.
Example of Goals and Objectives
Here's examples of both goals and objectives for keyboarding.
The student will learn to type proficiently.
Within six months the student will type 45 words per minute with 3 errors per minute or less.
For something like keyboarding, these are fairly easy to define.
However, some topics are a little harder. For example, what goals and objectives might one have for studying the United States Constitution?
: To understand the impact of the US Constitution.
- Identify 5 of the rights in the Bill of Rights.
- Explain step-by-step how the Constitution can be amended.
- Evaluate the impact of the Consitution on American society.
Some homeschool educational objectives are easier to measure. For instance, the first Constitutional objective above is the easiest in terms of measurement. This one tells exactly how many rights the student will identify in order to pass. Other measurements, like evaluating the impact of the Constitution, will require that the student write or discuss the information, and will be more subjective to evaluate.
Types of Objectives
There are different "levels" of objectives, which differentiate the type of thinking required of the student. All levels are comprised of a verb which deliniates what students are expected to do at the completion of their study. These levels are based on Bloom's Taxonomy
which educators have used for several decades. The order here is based on more recent revisions which emphasizes creating as a higher level than analysis.
There are far more exhaustive lists of verbs that can be used to generate educational objectives using Bloom's Taxonomy. But this list can get you started.
Tool for Writing Your Educational Objectives
Some states require families to submit their homeschool educational objectives before the beginning of the course of study. We have a template of specific homeschool educational objectives
specific for each subject.