Short-term objectives

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Short-term objectives
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Short-term objectives are "intermediary aims to be achieved toward the ultimate accomplishment" of a goal (Handbook of outcomes… 2002, s. 321).

The main features of short term objectives are as follows (Business policy… 2002, s. 80):

  • more certain than long-term objectives,
  • very specific,
  • comprehensive.

As a result, "one long-term objective may result in several short-term objectives" (Business policy… 2002, s. 80).

Short-term objectives are strictly connected to the overall course of the long-term objectives. However, budgets and goals of enterprises and organizations are usually based on short-term objectives, which are used for management control. That is why shorter-term objectives, which are set usually for a period of 12 months, are more likely to support operational activities (Strategic marketing… 2001, s. 139).

Comparison of short-term objectives and long-term goals

Features of short-term objectives Features of long-term goals
usually many very few (ex. two or three)
focused on short-term changes focused on the ultimate goals
measurable right after completion of the aim  "measurable only over long follow-up periods"
example: find a few references for the book example: write a book

(Tools for Building... 2008, s. 29)

In short, long-term objectives or goals consists of short-term objectives, which are the steps to reach the final goal (Adapted physical education... 2017, s. 87) (Understanding corporate strategy 2001, s. 80).

For example, annual goals can be used to estimate final results we can expect after an academic year looking at student's current level of performance. Then the final goals should be split up into short-term objectives or benchmarks, which are there to “describe meaningful intermediate outcomes between the student’s current performance level and the annual goal” (Writing Better Goals... 2001).

Features of short-term objectives

All short-term objectives must have some specific features in order to be measurable. These are: clear description of the action that needs to be taken, defined conditions and criteria. These three features relate to checks that must be performed in order to verify that the goal has been completed. These are:

  • end date,
  • who completes it,
  • what goal,
  • what conditions,
  • at what level of expertise,
  • who measures the results (Adapted physical education... 2017, s. 87).


Author: Justyna Szczepaniec