The difficulties of making such decisions attests to the need for teachers to be deeply engaged in determining and teaching to educational objectives. Teachers must make careful decisions about general curriculum objectives (subject or grade level), about unit objectives (classroom level), and lesson objectives (also classroom level). The intents of the curriculum at both the global and specific levels depend on the quality of education.
The three types of Education Objectives:
- Behavioral Objectives - For an objective to be meaningful, and therefore useful in guiding educators (regardless of whether it has been achieved), it should be measurable. To the extent that educators are unable to measure achievement, the meaningfulness of the objective is diminished. Put simply, this means that a behavioral objective is a precise statement of outcomes in terms observable behavior expected of students after instruction. Such an objective responds to the following question: What behavior can the learner engage int that will confirm that he or she grasps the knowledge or possesses the skills specified in the delivery of the curriculum?" Although some readers might conclude that all worth while learning must be stated behaviorally, the authors of this text believe that there are many learnings and attitude changes that are worth while for students to attain but cannot be precisely noted behaviorally. More on this is discussed under non behavioral general objectives. Suffice it to say, one cannot list in precise behavioral terms an increase in a student's sensitivity to others that must be met in order to quality as a "good person".
- Non behavioral General Objectives - Perhaps the greatest advantage of behavioral objectives is the clarity of communication they foster. People reading such objectives know precisely what they mean and can determine the extent to which they have been attained. But advocates of non behavioral objectives who use such words as "appreciate," "know," and "understand," contend that stating objectives too specifically restricts learning opportunistic to those situations that require measurement. Objectives that address higher-order learning (for example, analytic thinking and appreciating of literature) are likely to be eliminated because they frequently do not lend themselves measurement. Many opponents of behavioral objectives reject precise objectives as expressions of behaviorism. They insist that much learning can occur that does not result in overt, measurable pupil behavior. Learning in the affective domain is a more subtle form of learning.
- Means and Ends - Much of the argument between behaviorists and non behaviorists revolves around the nature of language. Just how precise must the language in education objectives be? Maurits Johnson and David Pratt make an interesting and useful distinction between educational intent and the realization of the intent. They note that many educators fall prey to the belief that the objective is in reality the statement that indicated its measure of achievement. They sate that an educational objective is rally a statement of intent, an expected end product, not an actual product.