Goal-setting and Reflection Surveys in Achieve

Macmillan Employee
Macmillan Employee
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When we were doing research to develop Achieve, both students and instructors told us that they needed more than just discipline content; they needed tools to help students be great students, regardless of the course content. A student’s ability to adapt problem-solving behaviors to different academic tasks and feedback is critical for successful learning. This ability, also referred to as self-regulated learning, has been defined as a set of interrelated skills and motivations that control learning [1, 2]. In order to better support students’ self-regulated learning, we’ve created the Goal-setting and Reflection Surveys in Achieve. 


If the surveys are in your course, you will find them under the Resources tab. Instructors report that they are easy to assign and easy for students to complete and, most shockingly, students LIKE the surveys! 


When asked how they felt about the Goal-setting and Reflection Surveys, students said….


“It shows that there is a lot more room for improvement not just in psych, but also other classes.”

“The questions in the survey helped me to reflect on what I did to better myself and encouraged me to improve further.”

“The surveys helped me to reevaluate my goals and ensure I was on the right track for this class to get the grade I desire.”

“The surveys helped me better look at how I studied and participated in class. It gave me better study habit ideas.”


Not only do students like the surveys, but our data suggests that using Goal-setting and Reflection Surveys impacts student course performance.


Students that complete their surveys experience higher final course grades

  • Students completing up to 2 surveys perform 2 - 3% better on their course grade than their peers not completing surveys. 
  • Students completing 3 - 5 surveys perform up to 5.5% better on their course grade than their peers not completing surveys.



  • Students that complete their surveys also perform better on internal Achieve assignments like practice quizzes and homework (Ranking 8% - 12% higher in their classes than their peers not completing surveys)





  • AND….  Students completing their surveys also complete up to 36% more of their assigned Achieve activities. 




But it’s not just about the students. What do instructors say they learn from the surveys and the reports?


“It helped me understand how each student is doing and where we need more work.” 


“The report was valuable to me as it revealed students' level of interest in the course, what they seek from the course and how they will apply the outcomes of the course to their lives. I truly used all parts of the information included in the report.” 


“It's interesting and helpful to see the number of students who report being off track. It's also helpful to see what obstacles they report facing to staying on track and the strategies they intend on using moving forward.”


“It provided good insight about where many of the students can use some additional instruction and resources to boost learning.”


How many of the surveys are instructors assigning?

  • For courses that assign only 1 survey, only 38% of students complete the survey.
  • Courses that assign 2 - 3 surveys experience more than twice the number of students completing the surveys (77 - 82%).
  • Courses that assign 4 or more surveys experience a significant drop in student survey completion rates (47% or less)


What does this mean for us?

There is a sweet spot of using/assigning the Goal-setting & Reflection Surveys.  We recommend instructors assign 2 - 3 surveys per semester for maximum student engagement.


If you want to learn more about the surveys, check out our introduction to surveys article

[1] Zimmerman, B. J., & Schunk, D. H. (Eds.). (2001). Self-regulated learning and academic achievement: Theoretical Perspectives. Routledge. 


[2] Broadbent, J., & Poon, W. L. (2015). Self-regulated learning strategies & academic achievement in online higher education learning environments: A systematic review. The Internet and Higher Education, 27, 1-13.

About the Author
I've been working in publishing since 1997, doing everything from the front desk to marketing and sales, and a few things in between. And I love working working with media and helping students succeed.