Writing objectives is as easy as A, B, C, D

Writing objectives


Writing objectives is a common task teachers do on a day to day or weekly basis.  Writing good clear objectives assists both teacher and learner to understand the teaching and learning process of any task.

The ABCD strategy for writing objectives is an acronym for Audience, Behaviour, Condition and Degree.

  1. ABCD
    1. Audience
    2. Behaviour
    3. Condition
    4. Degree


The audience is often written simply as the child or the participant or the student.

The behaviour is what the participant will do,

e.g. make a pizza, draw a shape, label a diagram, list words.

The condition is under what conditions the participant will complete the task.  The condition is often written using the word given or the word using:

e.g. given a ruler, or using only red paint and blue paint, given access to the internet.

The degree sets out the level the participant will be able to perform the task to,

e.g.  list eight multiples of four in thirty seconds, or, answer at least seven questions accurately on a quiz, or, score at least 15 correct answers on a spelling test.

When writing objectives using the ABCD method we often write CABD.  Condition, audience, behaviour, degree. 

e.g.  Using a ruler the student will measure lengths of shapes and record them in centimetres for ten minutes.

e.g.  Given a whiteboard and some markers the students will brainstorm thirty placenames of Irish towns in less than three minutes.


Terminal objectives

Terminal objectives should be a written statement of the sum of all the enabling objectives and should always precede the enabling objectives when written:

e.g. Given a ruler, paper and writing tools the student should be able to draw a scaled map of their school yard in no more than twenty minutes.


Enabling objectives

Enabling objectives are the objectives the participant must achieve in order to be able to master the terminal objectives.

e.g. Given a ruler, paper and writing tools the student should be able to measure and scale objects from a Google map in no more than five minutes.

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Thanks for reading,

Dermot Walsh