Goal Attainment Scaling Procedures

Goal Attainment Scaling (GAS)* measures program-induced, longitudinal change relative to the unique:

Learning needs and goals of participants.

Educational services provided.

Characteristics of programs.

GAS can help you with tutoring in a variety of ways.

1. GAS promotes and supports learner success through the setting of individual goals based on realistic expected learning outcomes.

2. GAS defines expected learning outcomes based on individual learner needs, learner history, and services being received.

3. GAS provides ongoing feedback to learners and teachers or tutors. As such, it:

4. GAS encourages cooperative goal setting and as such:

GAS Scores

The GAS score indicates the level of goal attainment achieved for each goal at the end of the designated time period. There are five levels of goal attainment possible:

Level +2: Much more than expected learning outcome.

Level +1: Somewhat more than expected learning outcome.

Level 0: Expected level of learning outcome.

Level -1: Somewhat less than expected learning outcome.

Level -2: Much less than expected learning outcome.

Level 0 is the level of goal attainment the learner is expected to attain at the end of the designated time period given:

  1. Learner's current level of functioning.

  2. Learner's history of achievement.

  3. Learner's motivation for change.

  4. Learner's extenuating life circumstances.

  5. Type and duration of services provided.

Level 0 can be thought of as earning a "C" in college course. It is the minimal acceptable level and indicates nothing more or less.

Levels +1 and +2 indicate higher levels of goal attainment than expected at the end of the designated time period. Level +1 can be thought of as earning an "A" and Level +2 can be thought of as a "B."

Levels -1 and -2 indicate lower levels of goal attainment than expected at the end of the designated time period. Level -1 can be thought of as earning a "D" and Level -2 can be thought of as failing.

GAS Goals

1. GAS goals must be realistic learning expectations based on:

2. GAS goals must be objective, measurable, and verifiable.

3. GAS goals must have a designated time period for attainment.

4. Each GAS goal must have a single focus and expected learning outcome.

5. GAS goals must be the direct result of program-induced change.

6. GAS goals must be mutually agreed upon between provider and learner.

The GAS Matrix

  1. Each goal has its own scale (or column) in a GAS matrix.

  2. For each goal, the levels of goal attainment (expressed in terms of an indicator), and the goal attainment completion date are entered in the GAS matrix.

  3. At the designated completion time, the level of goal attainment is identified using the indicator and a check mark is placed in the appropriate GAS matrix box.

Levels of Goal Attainment

Goal One

Goal Two

Level +2

will correctly define 25 or more new vocabulary words

 

Level +1

will correctly define 23-24 new vocabulary words

 

Level O

learner will be able to correctly define 20-22 new vocabulary words

 

Level -1

will correctly define 18-19 new vocabulary words

 

Level -2

will correctly define 17 or fewer new vocabulary words

 

Designated completion date

For example, October 15, 2001

 

Obtaining the GAS Score

  1. The GAS score is obtained using goal-specific indicators to identify levels of goal attainment.

  2. Each goal is assigned a specific indicator to measure the degree of goal attainment.

  3. The indicator is used to express the five levels of goal attainment for the goal.

  4. GAS scores can be considered individually or averaged for an overall measurement of goal attainment.

Indicators

Indicators must be defined to accurately measure the degree of goal attainment specific to each individual goal.

Example of Indicators

Your goal is to increase the distance you can run nonstop.

  1. Given your level of fitness, past performance, and two weeks of additional training, you expect that at the end of a two-week period you can run between seven and eight miles.

  2. Levels +1 and +2 indicate that you could possibly do more than the expected 7 to 8 miles.

  3. Levels -1 and -2 indicate that you could possibly do less than the expected 7 to 8 miles. Level +2: more than 10 miles Level +1: 9-10 miles Level 0: 7-8 miles Level -1: 5-6 miles Level -2: less than 5 miles

Defining and Stating Indicators

Using GAS Scores to Monitor and Modify Educational Services

At the designated time, the level of goal attainment is determined. Based on the GAS score:

  1. New goals can be set for learners attaining levels 0 or +1 on previous goals.

  2. New, more challenging goals can be set for learners attaining Level +2 on previous goals.

  3. Goals can be repeated for learners attaining Level -1 on previous goals. If goals are not attained after a reasonable amount of time, treat them as Level -2 goals.

  4. Less challenging goals can be set for learners attaining Level -2 on previous goals. Level +2: Learner can become bored and dropout. Level +1: Appropriate level of exceeded challenge. Level 0: Appropriate level of challenge. Level -1: Appropriate level of unmet challenge. Level -2: Learner can become frustrated and dropout.

Considerations and Implications for Guiding Instruction

1. When levels of goal attainment are very high:

2. When levels of goal attainment are very low:

* Kiresuk, T., Smith, A. & Cardillo, J. (Eds.). 1994. Goal Attainment Scaling: Applications, Theory, and Measurement Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.


Penn State College of Education ©2000
Pennsylvania Literacy Corps
Institute for the Study of Adult Literacy
Sheila Sherow
105 Rackley Building
University Park, PA 16802
814-863-3777
sms20@psu.edu