GOALS (Grasping Opportunities After Leaving School), evaluating a brief goal-setting intervention programme for adolescents

Rights statement
Awarding institution
  • University of Strathclyde
Date of award
  • 2015
Thesis identifier
  • T14186
Person Identifier (Local)
  • 200769414
Qualification Level
Qualification Name
Department, School or Faculty
  • Successful transition from school to post-school is considered vital for each individual and to wider society yet there are still an estimated 31,000 young people in Scotland who leave school without a positive destination (i.e. engaged in education, employment or training) to go to (Scottish Government, 2011). Much of the research with adolescents during transition has been around developing skills for employment yet very little research has been carried out on the young peoples' autonomy and their own goals for the future. To address this gap in the research, a new goal-setting intervention programme: Grasping Opportunities After Leaving School (GOALS) was developed, piloted and trialled. The programme was designed to teach young people goal-setting skills and to create future goals prior to transition from school to post-school. The programme was based on the Going for the Goal Programme (Danish, 2002) and adopted a brief therapy approach. It was hypothesised that the implementation of GOALS would increase pupil goal-setting knowledge and in turn increase pupil engagement in post-school activities. A pilot study evaluated and refined the GOALS materials and the main study evaluated the programme's effectiveness. 328 S3 and S4 pupils from two secondary schools in a local education authority in central Scotland took part in the main study, with classes randomly allocated to intervention or comparison groups. The intervention comprised of four lessons delivered over four weeks. Participants completed self-report questionnaires for goal knowledge and school engagement. All measures were completed at pre- and post-intervention time-points. A critical incident questionnaire was also completed post-intervention together with focus group interviews. Analysis of variance found significant intervention effects in the predicted direction for goal knowledge and engagement. The findings have implications for working with disengaged young people during transition. Strengths and limitations of the study are discussed as well as next steps and future research.
Resource Type
Date Created
  • 2015
Former identifier
  • 1246281