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Learning Targets: Create a Learning Target Set (video)

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In this article you will learn why learning targets are key to Foundry configuration and how to organize them to truly represent your particular learning framework and students’ stories of learning and growth.




Targets: Key to Clarity

Learning Targets, or standards, competencies, outcomes -- whatever you call your learning goals -- are central to planning teaching today. The Foundry platform efficiently manages and tracks these targets, especially in interdisciplinary learning.

Foundry as Digital Shadow

Target sets are only one fully configurable aspect of your Foundry site. Combined with scales, learning plans, and forms, think of this configuration as a “digital shadow” of your learning environment.  In a sense, learning targets are a detailed embodiment of your vision and beliefs about learners, learning, and data. Your thoughtful work in configuring Foundry will have a powerful impact on teaching and learning in your school.


Once you have completed the following steps, you will use the targets to design Learning Plans that describe your school's requirements: complete the year, finish a program, graduate at your school, etc.  We suggest you design with the end in mind by answering the following questions:

      • What data do you want to make visible?
      • How do you want the data to appear?
      • What should the user be able to understand?
      • What data do you want to report?
      • How do you want your reports and transcripts to appear?


Your answers to these questions will guide you as you build your target sets.

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Target Set Terms

Foundry uses specific terms to describe the components of each Target Set. These terms appear throughout Foundry, in the following places:

  • target spreadsheets
  • learning plan templates
  • the learning target manager
  • learning plans
  • target choosers in experience planning forms
  • evaluation pages
  • the performance page, and
  • on reports and transcripts.


It's easy to see how important these terms are! Here are the terms you need to know and examples of them:

Subject  - the broad outcomes or disciplines or big goals.

Subject Group - a subset of the broad outcomes, such as courses.

Target Name -  the brief and distinct names of the learning targets for each subset.  

Target Description - the description of what the student will know or do for each target.



Subject Group

Target Name

Target Description


English 9

Writing: Informative-Precise language

Use precise language & domain-specific vocabulary to manage topic complexity.




I will construct an equilateral triangle.

21st Century Skills

Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

Problem finding, solution creating

The student can identify and define problems and propose creative and appropriate solutions.


Note:  the Target Description can be personalized with an opener like, “I will” or “The student can” or it can be simply the statement of a verb, for example, “Use.” (For more detail on this, see Naming Conventions in this article.)


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Target Set Spreadsheets

You will configure your learning targets in Foundry using a spreadsheet. It is important to use the Foundry targets spreadsheet template. To get a blank template in your Foundry site, navigate to:   

                       Admin > Learning Targets > Content Targets > Download Template

The Spreadsheet template uses the Target Set Terms to head columns.


The spreadsheet template also has two additional columns:

Course Code - Column C  is used for special reporting to your state or district to associate targets or standards to a particular course. If this is a reporting requirement in your situation, you will get the codes from the agency to whom you are reporting. If not, skip the column. Do not use it for other data.

Scale Name - Make the Scale Name “None.” This will allow you to select a default scale for all targets, like a Proficiency scale – emerging, approaching, meeting, exceeding. It is possible to have different scales for different targets, like a Binary scale – met, not yet – but most commonly, all the targets in a target set have the same scale.

You will set the Scale Name later, in the Admin > Learning Targets management views. 

Note: If you put a particular scale name in Column F, it must come from the scales in School Settings: Scales. This scale will override the default scale that will be operative if you put “None” in column F.  (Read more about this in School Settings: Manage Scales)


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Organization of Targets

The organization of learning targets in Foundry really matters! As mentioned above, targets are ubiquitous in Foundry: on the performance pages, in the learning target manager, in learning plans, and reports and transcripts. You can create targets to manage any list of goals, outcomes, or expectations. You can store two types of target sets in Foundry. They are separated into two classes:

Content Targets - Academic goals are used to evaluate student academic progress and are organized in the Content Target Set. Frequently, requirements or expectations like “Complete two internships” or “Complete 8 exhibitions of learning” are also in this target set.  

Skills Targets - Skills, such as “21st Century Skills” or “Habits of Success” demonstrate growth over time in learning, work, and life skills. They are usually organized in the Skills Target Set.  Competencies, if they will be used to evaluate student academic progress, will usually be managed in the Content Target Set; however, if their purpose is to describe skills growth, they could be more appropriate in the Skills Target Set.  Consider whether they  describe academic or skill-like growth, as well as how you want them to be reported. 

Both content and skills targets can be viewed on the Targets view of the Performance Tab:



All of the targets can also be viewed on the Trends view. Content Targets are visible when the Content button is selected. Skill Targets are selected in the picture below:


Targets can be evaluated with a variety of scales and scale marks (like proficiency or competency) when evaluating Learning Experiences. Targets can also be evaluated with grades and credits; these are viewed on the Performance Tab > Credits.  Both content targets and skill targets can be evaluated and assigned credit earned. Both can appear on a Foundry Transcript, as shown (in part) below:


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Targets for Electives and Transfers

Many schools offer Elective learning options beyond core disciplines from which students can choose based on their personal interests.  To manage electives, create a Subject "Electives" to represent two categories:

  1. Elective Targets in core disciplines included as elective Subject Groups, for example, from ELA, Math Social Studies, Health that students may elect to do in addition to required targets; and
  2. Elective Subject Groups such as Business Education, Technology, Fine Arts, Graphic Design, etc., each with their own targets.  By organizing electives in this way, not only will students and teachers/advisors locate particular targets and set up learning plan requirements more easily, but also reports and transcripts will show clarity in displaying credit completion.

To create a Transfer Record for a student, select the Subject Groups and Targets a student has completed in another program by navigating to Admin> Quick Actions> Add a Transfer Record (See  Add a Transfer Record for a Student.) 

However, this record will be based upon completion of learning targets, which are not typically available on a transfer record. Rather than imagining which targets were actually achieved by a student, we recommend you create a transfer target for each Subject Group that allows evaluation and credit assignment at the correct level.

For example, for Subject: Math; Subject Group: Geometry; create a Target Name: Geometry, and a Target Description: Student completed the requirements of Geometry in another program or school.  Create a similar target for every Subject Group needing a transfer target. 


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Target Naming Conventions

Well-crafted Subjects, Subject Groups, and Target Names make your target set clear and effective. Care in crafting Target Names will simplify several things in your Foundry site:  experience plan design, target evaluation, performance page readability, and report and transcript clarity.  

Below is an example of a target set for Middle School Life Science:



Subject – The heading for broad outcomes or disciplines, like Science, often including grade level(s). This is the heading under which everything is organized on the Performance Page:



Subject Group – The subsets (often individual courses) under the Subject heading. This case shows Life Science, Earth Science, Physical Science, and STEM:



Target Names – Brief and distinct labels for learning targets within each Subject Group.  Below are two Life Science targets on Ecosystems - from two separate projects - and an Earth Science target on Earth Systems:


These well-constructed target names are simple, clear, and distinct. By "distinct," we mean that a target name cannot be the same as any other target name in its particular Subject Group.

For example, in the spreadsheet below, each target begins “Biological Evolution.”  Each, however, has a distinct subtitle such as “Evolutionary relationships” or “Fossil record”: 


Note, each target name in the above example includes a Standard number (not required). Alone, these numbers could technically make each “Biological Evolution” target name distinct.

But remember: All Foundry users (students, parents, administrators, coaches, and other advisors and teachers) will read the targets everywhere in Foundry. Without the subtitle, these users are unlikely to know the content of the target description without clicking into each one to read the description.  Numbering alone is easy but ineffective. 

Tip: Distinguishing each target name with a short text headline is relatively simple and highly effective later on. In fact, keeping your target names brief is also important. The longer the target name, the more display space it will take up in all the aforementioned places. This can be particularly unappealing on the Performance page, so remember to keep them clear, distinct, and brief! 



In the example below, English 12 targets each begin with “Literature (L) Determine/clarify meaning of unknown words and phrases.” Here, however, the editor here has condensed the lengthy target descriptions into single words or short phrases: “context,” “patterns of word changes,” and “use of reference materials.”  There is no need to click into Target Description in the planning chooser to clarify. 


This same clarity also lets the Performance Page viewer know  – without clicking  – what has been completed. This is why creating distinct, simple subtitles for Targets Names is worth every bit of effort!

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Upload Targets

When you are satisfied with the content of your target sets – after all of the learning and thinking and collaborating and editing is finished – you will upload the target spreadsheet into Foundry and start to work on learning plans and experiences. 

If you did not begin with the Foundry spreadsheet template, log in to Foundry and get a fresh template onto which you will copy your targets.

      • Navigate to Admin > Learning Targets > Content Targets.
      • In the gray box, click "Download Template"


Once you have saved your target spreadsheet, complete the following steps to upload your target set to Foundry:

  1. Navigate to Admin > Learning Targets > Content Targets.
  2. To the right at the top of the page, click "add a new learning target set." You will see the following page:
  3. Title and describe your new content target set, and decide if this new set will be the active set of learning targets.

    Note: While you can store multiple target sets in Foundry, only one can be active at a time. Only targets from the active set will be available for learning experiences. If you do not activate this set, students and teachers will not have access to it.

  4. Select from the dropdown menu at which level credits and grades will be awarded, if your school uses them. (For reference, in a traditional school setting with Science "subject group" courses such as Biology and Chemistry, credits and grades are most typically awarded at the subject group level.)
  5. Click "Submit."
  6. On the next page, scroll to the bottom and click "Choose File."
  7. Select your target set from your desktop and click "Submit."
  8. Your target set name will appear. 
  9. Click "Import." The target set subjects will appear on the page.  
  10. Once your set of content targets has loaded into your site you will need to select which subjects will be evaluative - meaning your teachers will be able to award the proficiency level demonstrated by students, as well as award credits and/or grades. Note: this is most commonly ALL of your imported subject areas. You must do this row by row, clicking 'save' for each one before moving to the next.
  11. Finally, you may want to specify the total number of required targets and/or credits to be earned within each subject area in order to graduate from your program. This is not required, as you will do this when constructing your learning plans. 

These instructions are on the Admin > Learning Targets > Content Targets view.

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Set Target Scales

Once you have uploaded the target set(s) it is essential to set the default scale for evaluating targets (Unless you gave the full target set a specific scale in “Column F Scale Name” before uploading.) 

Navigate to Admin > Learning Targets > Content Targets. Near the top of the page, just after “Default scale used to evaluate Learning Targets,” click “change” to activate a drop-down menu from which you select your preferred scale.


This scale will be the default for evaluating all learning targets. Read here for more information on using the scale manager in the learning target set.

IMPORTANT: It is absolutely essential to select a default scale for both Content and Skills learning target sets, even if you have chosen a scale for each individual target. If you do not select a default scale, your performance page will not display correctly.

Directly to the right, you can also select the Grade scale, that is, the default scale for evaluating a grade to the target.  This grade will be used on Foundry transcripts and also generates the GPA (grade point average).

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Managing Target Changes and Additions

All of the management of targets can now be done in the Content Targets or Skills Targets views.…deactivating, reactivating, or clicking “Manage” to make language changes or adding a new subjects, subject groups, or targets. For full details on how to edit or manage your learning targets, See Manage your Target Sets.

Once your targets are uploaded, you are all set to use them to create Learning Plans!


Sample Target Sets

Foundry subscriber sites come with many preloaded content and skills target sets. The most commonly used target sets is attached at the bottom of this article. They are typically included for Foundry subscribers and you can use them without changing them. Click any to download and use it as a base for developing your own set.  



Suggested Reading

Note: Articles linked here under "Suggested Reading" are chosen by Foundry Support team members for their relevance and are updated as needed. The articles listed here may differ from those on the right side of the page, where the Knowledge Base AI lists "Related Articles." 


Managing a Target Set

Learning Plans: an Introduction


Labels: Content Targets, Learning Targets, Learning Target Set, skills targets,
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