Using goal binders to track student progress at Southmoor Elementary


Krissy Neumann


Math, Science and Social Studies

Southmoor Elementary

To implement Goal Binders to track student progress across time, and increase student agency in their own learning by setting achievable goals.

Learner Paths, Evolving Learner and Teacher Roles, and Strategic Use of Space


Krissy Neumann uses goal binders that are individual to each student. The students track their progress in these binders and set academic goals for themselves. Krissy helps the students organize the binder and set achievable goals. The binders move with the students from room to room because she co-teaches with a partner. 


She pulls the students in small groups to review progress while the rest of the class works on checklists of assignments that are tailored toward helping the students improve their skills in math to meet their goals.

A student showing his goal binder with a learner profile on the cover. The binders move with the students from room to room to keep track of their progress.

Ms Neumann meets with groups of students to discuss and review their progress while the rest of the class works on other assignments.

Ms Neumann also meets individual students to keep them on track. 

Goals Gameplan is a form in the binder used by Ms Neumann and her students to keep track of their individual goals.

"Reviewing progress with the goal binder groups once a week allows students to become responsible for their own learning"- Krissy Neumann


Initial Teacher Interview

This cycle Ms Neumann is focusing on Learner Paths, Evolving Learner and Teacher Roles, and Strategic Use of Space. In order to learn and keep track of her students, she has created a binder for each individual student. The binders include interest inventories which help her design math, science, and social studies lessons that are relevant and applicable in her students' lives. 


Ms. Neumann uses the goal binders to teach her students how to set reasonable goals for themselves and work towards achieving those goals. Once a week in groups, Ms. Neumann and her students review their progress using the goal binder. Ms Neummann wants her students to drive their own learning and advocate for themselves in the future.

Teacher Reflection

Ms. Neumann's students have made tremendous progress over the course of the semester. They are more responsible and are excited about learning. The students love to see their own growth in their skills. Although the students have improved their ability to identify areas of improvement, they still struggle with connecting the relevance between assignments and their goals. Also, Ms. Neumann's large class size has made it difficult to offer a large assortment of seating options for her students because there is limited space with so many people in the room.


Patience - It takes time to get it right. Ms Neumann spends time outside the classroom planning her lessons to meet her students' individidual needs. She also consults with her peers to improve her goal setting and tracking skills.

Collect Data- For the binders to be effective, it's important to identify what data is truly useful and relevant in understanding the students' progress in achieving their goals, as well as meeting curriculum standards.

Make the binders electronic - it is easier to add information with electronic versions of the binders and they are less cumbersome. The ultimate goal is to have the collected information follow the students to the next grade and electronic goal binders could accomplish that.



"Krissy’s main strengths are her flexibility to try new things and her belief that all kids are able to learn...the students now have a lot more ownership of their learning and can articulate what they are doing and why... The students are aware of their data and where they are supposed to be, so they make choices based on the data in order to engage in learning in the best way for themselves... If other teachers wanted to try this, setting goals anchored in standards would be beneficial so the goals are concrete and easily measured." Jacqueline Dawkins




Special Thanks To

Southmoor Elementary teacher Krissy Neuman and her students, principal Sarina Compos, Imaginiarium staff Jenna Blakely, Jacqueline Dawkins and Signe Hawley.

A huge thank you to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation whose Next Generation Systems Intiative (NGSI) grant has been instrumental in helping Denver Public Schools design, study and scale personalized learning.