“SCOALING”: It’s Our Thing

Recently, our intern (Ireana) tripped over her words as we all do, and said, “scoaling” instead of goal scaling. I fell in love with the word right then. As the word nerd that I am, I’m a big fan of the portmanteau (a word made by blending at least two words). Goal scaling has transformed the way Jennifer and I think about outcome measurement and how to capture and quantify small but meaningful change over time. GAS: Goal Attainment Scaling, one of the methods available in Goal Scaling Solutions, is based on the work of Kiresuk & Sherman (1968). GAS uses a five-point numerical scale to translate individualized goals into quantitative, aggregate data useful for program evaluation. This is especially applicable for organizations that have diverse goals for diverse groups and individuals within it. GAS has been widely used in healthcare, education, business, and community settings for decades.

As researchers, Jennifer and I have successfully used GAS as an outcome measure for our own research studies in both clinical and educational settings. Unfortunately, the paper and pen format still in use today can be time-consuming, prone to human error, and requires manual data analysis. Because the magic of scaling goals (aka scoaling) creates a more meaningful outcome measure that is highly sensitive to change, we were inspired to go digital, back in 2017. We’ve built on the concept of goal scaling, but have developed comprehensive goal setting software with features that solve the challenges and limitations of this respected methodology. Goal Scaling Solutions goes beyond the five-point scale to include additional options for online user engagement to increase motivation, tracking incremental progress and customizing reports.

Scoaling: Taking goal scaling to the next level for outcome measurement. Thanks for the word inspiration, Ireana.

Now I will return to eating my turducken with a spork.



Chapleau, A., & Harrison, J. (2015). Fieldwork I program evaluation of student learning using goal attainment scaling. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 69, 1-8. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2015.018325

Chapleau, A., Seroczynski, A.D., Meyers, S., Lamb, K., & Buchino, S. (2012). The effectiveness of an occupational therapy consultation model in community mental health. Occupational Therapy in Mental Health, 28, 379-395. https://doi:10.1080/0164212X.2012.70809

Kiresuk, T.J. & Sherman, R.E. (1968). Goal attainment scaling: A general method for evaluating comprehensive community mental health programs. Community Mental Health Journal, 4(6), 443-453. doi: 10.1007/BF01530764. PMID: 24185570