Targeting Growth: Using Student Learning Objectives as a Measure of Educator Effectiveness

Client: US Department of Education

Student learning objectives (SLOs) are specific learning goals for a group of students that teachers in non-tested grades and subjects can use to measure student growth. Teachers and principals use data from assessments—such as standardized tests, end-of-course exams, or teacher-created tests—to monitor students’ progress towards those goals and determine the teacher’s contributions to student growth during the school year.

In this brief, we identify six key elements of high-quality SLOS: (1) Clear identification of the student population; (2) Specific time period; (3) Assessment(s) of student progress; (4) Rigorous yet realistic expected student growth targets to be met by students; (5) Strong rationale for expected student growth; and (6) Instructional strategies for achieving SLOs. We also includes a step-by-step process for developing and using SLOs throughout the year, sample SLOs in Social Studies and Music, and a list of common challenges and potential solutions that states and districts encounter when implementing SLOs. The brief also contains links to SLO resources in leading school systems.

Browse similar resources:

Be sure to visit our Focus Areas and Services pages to learn about the scope of our work.

You might also be interested in: