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Division of Adolescent and School Health — Writing Good Goals and SMART Objectives Tutorials
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Good Goals

Writing Good Goals

According to CDC, writing a good goal involves two key steps:

  1. Specify an expected program effect in reducing a health problem (e.g., improve asthma management, increase physical activity, improve dietary habits, decrease tobacco use, increase sexual abstinence, increase use of condoms if sexually active).
  2. Identify the target population to be affected (e.g., youth aged 12-19, secondary school teachers, school districts).

Activity: Writing Good Goals

Directions
From the following health statements, select the appropriate related goal.

*Please note: if you experience inconsistency when choosing a response, please de-select & re-select your choice.

  1. Health Statement One:
    An estimated 26% of children and adolescents aged 6-19 in our state are overweight.

    Possible Goal Statements:
    • A
      Decrease the number of schools who are not implementing physical education standards.

      Incorrect.

      This is written as a negative statement (not implementing) and is not easily understood.

    • B
      Provide physical education to children aged 5-13.

      Incorrect.

      This is a strategy/activity, not a goal. It does not specify an expected program effect in reducing the health problem.

    • C
      Increase the percent of school districts in the state that require physical education for students in grades 6-12.

      Correct.

      Effect: Increase requirements for physical education. Target population: school districts.

    • D
      At the end of the fiscal year, 45% of overweight children in grades K-12 in five pilot school districts will have increased the amount of time they exercise.

      Incorrect.

      This is an objective, not a goal. Goals do not include specific measurable targets, and goals reach beyond a one-year time period.

  2. Health Statement Two:
    Nationally, smoking results in more than 5.6 million years of potential lives lost each year. Approximately 80% of adult smokers started smoking before the age of 18. Every day, more than 2,000 young people under the age of 18 become daily smokers.

    Possible Goal Statements:
    • A
      Increase implementation of tobacco education curricula in schools and school districts within a CSH framework.

      Correct.

      Effect: Increase implementation of tobacco education curricula. Target population: Schools and school districts.

    • B
      Provide physical education to children aged 5-13.

      Incorrect.

      This is a strategy/activity, not a goal. It does not specify an expected program effect in reducing the health problem.

    • C
      Increase by 50% the number of students in grades 9-12 who successfully complete a tobacco cessation program.

      Incorrect.

      This is an objective, not a goal. Goals do not include specific measurable targets. Additionally, goals specify the long-term effect of a program.

    • D
      Reduce the proportion of youth in grades 9-12 who do not receive anti-smoking education.

      Incorrect.

      This is written as a negative statement (not receive). It is not easily understood.

  3. Health Statement Three:
    In 2008, HIV was the leading cause of death for black women between the ages of 25 and 34 in our county. Many of these young adults were likely infected in their teens and twenties.

    Possible Goal Statements:
    • A
      Reduce HIV infection in youth.

      Incorrect.

      This is an overall program goal, stating the overall mission or purpose of the program versus a five-year program goal.

    • B
      Promote sexuality education and HIV prevention education among youth.

      Incorrect.

      This is a strategy/activity, not a goal. It does not specify an expected program effect in reducing the health problem.

    • C
      25% of all schools in the district will adopt HIV education curricula for students in grades 9-12 this school year.

      Incorrect

      This is an objective, not a goal. Goals do not include specific measurable targets, and goals reach beyond a one-year time period.

    • D
      Increase the number of youth in grades 9-12 in the school district who abstain from sexual intercourse or use condoms if currently sexually active.

      Correct.

      Effect: Increase the number of youth who abstain from sexual intercourse; increase the number of youth who use a condom. Target population: Youth in grades 9-12 in the school district.

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[Flash Text Version for 508:]
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This activity is used to help you: (1) identify appropriate goal statements that address specific health problems; (2) recall/reinforce the criteria for a good goal; and (3) reinforce the steps involved in writing a good goal.

Good goal steps:

  1. Specify a health problem
  2. Identify the target population

Criteria for a good goal are:

  1. Declarative statement
  2. Specifies an intended program effect
  3. Identifies a target population
  4. Jargon free
  5. Short
  6. Concise
  7. Easily understood
  8. Positive terms
  9. Framework for objectives

Health Statement One:
An estimated 26% of U.S. children and adolescents aged 6-19 in our state are overweight.

Appropriate Goal Statement:

  1. Increase the percent of school districts in the state that require physical education for students in grades 6-12.

Health Statement Two:
Nationally, smoking results in more than 5.6 million years of potential lives lost each year. Approximately 80% of adult smokers started smoking before the age of 18. Every day, more than 2,000 young people under the age of 18 become daily smokers.

Appropriate Goal Statement:

  1. Increase implementation of tobacco education curricula in schools and school districts within a CSH framework.

Health Statement Three:
In 2008, HIV was the leading cause of death for black women between the ages of 25 and 34. Many of these young adults were likely infected in their teens and twenties.

Appropriate Goal Statement:

  1. Increase the number of youth in grades 9-12 in the school district who abstain from sexual intercourse or use condoms if currently sexually active.

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More Information:
Evaluation Brief 3a, Writing Good Goals [pdf 233K, text 5K]
Job Aid:
Evaluation Brief 3, Goals and Objectives Checklist [pdf 200K, text 5K]
This brief provides a goal and objective checklist and examples.

 

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