Grammar Q & A Newsgroup

Click on Questions and Answers to see the newest messages. If you want to post a message or comment, you will be prompted to login. (If you are not registered, you can do so from the login box.) Remember to bookmark this page to make it easier to return to it.

    Grammar Exchange    Grammar Exchange  Hop To Forum Categories  The Grammar Exchange  Hop To Forums  Questions and Answers    aim, goal, and objective
Go
New
Find
Notify
Tools
Reply
  
aim, goal, and objective
 Login/Join 
Member
Posts: 149
posted   Report This Post  
I wonder why there're so many results for the search string "aims and goals". I mean, do people really have this distinction in mind between aims and goals when they say something like that? My further search turns up only one page where the author makes a point of distinguishing between aims and goals, and even 'objectives'. The address is:
http://www.sasked.gov.sk.ca/docs/info_pro03/Aim_Goals_Foundational.html

But when I've read it through I still cannot tell their differences. It seems what is being defined as 'aims' can quitely readily convert to 'goals' or 'objectives'. Would anyone offer some comments? Thank you very much


Peter Young
Senior Student
English Department
Communication University of China
Member
Posts: 19512
posted   Hide PostReport This Post  
It's true that "aim" and "goal" and "objective" can usually be used interchangeably. I would guess that most people don't make distinctions among them.

A: I want to get in to a good college.
B: Yes, of course. What is your aim/ goal/ objective in life? Will the college help you achieve it?

A: You're sure working hard these days! How come?
B: My goal / aim / objective is to become a partner in this firm by the end of next year.

However, in some fields, education for one, "goals" are seen as bigger than "objectives." The objective is a concrete achievement on the way towards achieving a goal.


Here's a definition from a website at the University of Minnesota*:

Q) What are the differences between goals and objectives?

"A) Because the two terms are often used interchangeably, confusion sometimes arises. Although both goals and objectives use the language of outcomes, the characteristic that distinguishes goals from objectives is the level of specificity. Goals express intended outcomes in general terms and objectives express them in specific terms. Goals are written in broad, global, and sometimes vague, language. Objectives are statements that describe the intended results of instruction in terms of specific student behaviors...

...Goals are statements about general aims or purposes of education that are broad, long range intended outcomes. Goals are used primarily in policy making and general program planning.

Objectives are brief, clear statements that describe the desired learning outcomes of instruction. Attention is focused on the specific types of performances that students are expected to demonstrate at the end of instruction."
_______

For another clear presentation of "goals and "objectives," here's a government website:

http://www.ed.gov/G2K/teachers/appndx5.html
______

In more general English, the American Heritage Dictionary has this usage note at "intention":

SYNONYMS intention, intent, purpose, goal, end, aim, object, objective. These nouns refer to what one plans to do or achieve.

Intention simply signifies a course of action that one proposes to follow: It is my intention to take a vacation next month. Intent more strongly implies deliberateness: The executor complied with the testator's intent.

Purpose
strengthens the idea of resolution or determination: "His purpose was to discover how long these guests intended to stay" (Joseph Conrad).

Goal may suggest an idealistic or long-term purpose: The college's goal was to raise ten million dollars for a new library.

End
suggests a long-range goal: The candidate wanted to win and pursued every means to achieve that end.

Aim
stresses the direction one's efforts take in pursuit of an end: The aim of most students is to graduate.

An object is an end that one tries to carry out: The object of chess is to capture your opponent's king. Objective often implies that the end or goal can be reached: The report outlines the committee's objectives

Rachel
_______
* http://www.tc.umn.edu/~jlambrec/CI5336/Spring2001/goals.html
**The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company. 2004
  Powered by Social Strata  
 

    Grammar Exchange    Grammar Exchange  Hop To Forum Categories  The Grammar Exchange  Hop To Forums  Questions and Answers    aim, goal, and objective