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Notes from research by Shirley Clarke, Dylan Wiliam and the National Strategy

SUCCESS CRITERIA

Should be brief, succinct, a summary of discussions up to that point and reference more
detailed examples (which could be on working walls)
90% of what the brain remembers is derived from visual images
Success criteria must be visible so children can look up and check during the lesson.
Even as adults you can believe you understand a task but once engaged in the actual
activity its easy to lose track of the point. Visual success criteria keep everyone focused.
Success criteria for skills, concept and knowledge objectives are usually chronological and
step-by-step (easy to create). Following them usually ensures success and often ensures
quality.
Success criteria for application objectives usually were once separate skills, concepts or
knowledge. They tend to consist of all the things learnt so far and are usually in the form of a
list or menu with no order. Using them usually ensures the learning objective has been met,
although quality is not ensured.
Success criteria are to remind children of those aspects of the task on which they must need
to focus. They are not a simple fix-it list and they dont ensure quality this must be done
through modelling, feedback, questioning etc..
If clear learning objectives and success criteria are planned correctly, the activity follows
quickly
As the lesson is structured around a clear learning objective and success criteria, gathering
success criteria from the children during the lesson is just asking them to summarise the
teaching points.
Product success criteria are unhelpful e.g. your answers will be correct. They focus on
end points or products. They are what the teacher wants and dont indicate for the children
how the learning objective will be fulfilled. Ill know it when I see it approach that leads to
being reactive rather than proactive.
Process success criteria are helpful. They explain how the learning objective will be
achieved. Children are actively engaged in the process of learning. They act as an aidememoire of necessary ingredients.
Success criteria are not new, teachers have always asked children: So what are the key
things you need to remember?
The emphasis needs to be on summarising the key points that link exclusively to the
learning objective.
Asking children to reflect back on the success criteria (or what they need to understand)
during and at the end of the lesson gives the children ownership.
Success criteria promote links to working walls (displaying criteria or methods etc),
questioning, peer and self-assessment, marking and feedback
To encourage children to take responsibility for their learning, it is important to ask children
for the success criteria just before the task. The learner then:
- Keeps track of what they have done and what is left to do in the time given
- Knows the expectations of the teacher
- Can start to self-evaluate against the criteria and ask for help where needed
- Can mark their own work or work with response partners
- Confidently work with others as all share the same success criteria

Bexley Primary Mathematics Team

Notes from research by Shirley Clarke, Dylan Wiliam and the National Strategy

Teachers find the benefits of having success criteria are:


- planning is focused more around success criteria than the activity which saves time
and clarifies the lesson
- Planning for success criteria can involve discovering that the activity will not meet the
learning objective in its present form, necessitating activity modification
- Oral feedback during the course of a lesson focuses naturally around the success
criteria
- Marking is more focused around success criteria than superficial, limited features
- The need for individual targets decreases as teachers and childrens concerns
become more focused around meeting success criteria
Childrens progress is accelerated when they are clear about success criteria, are able to
judge the quality of their work and know how to improve it.
Effective success criteria require teachers to have a good understanding of progression in
key concepts and skills.
When teachers are clear about success criteria they are able to support whole-class and
individual progress through questioning, dialogue and written feedback.
Success criteria need to be appropriately challenging for all children, and support and
extend childrens expectations of their own achievement
Teachers shouldnt give lots of criteria as the children dont need to be reminded of
everything about the topic, just what they are most likely to forget at that stage.
If all children have access to the learning objective, then all children will have the same
success criteria despite differentiation. However if a specific mathematics skill is being
taught (e.g. a written method), teachers may want to display separate success criteria on the
table or orally by a TA

Key principles of success criteria


- Process success criteria are more powerful then product success criteria
- Success criteria need to be planned in advance
- Planning success criteria leads to more focused activities and less overplanning of activities
- Success criteria should be generic for all children regardless of their task, as long as they all
have access to the same learning objective (there is sometimes an exception in
mathematics)
- Success criteria need to be gathered from the children to give them ownership
NOTE:
- Quality comes from the teaching and feedback, not the success criteria
- Schools can decide how to make their planning effective the widest column tends to
dictate the planning and teaching focus
Time needs to be built in to the lesson for structured reflection, for example using comments
such as the following:
- Find one example you are really proud of and circle it. Tell the person next to you why you
are pleased with it.
- Decide with your talk partner which of the success criteria you have been most successful
with and which one needs help or could be taken further.
- You have five minutes to find one place where you could improve. Write your improvement
at the bottom of your work.
Bexley Primary Mathematics Team

Notes from research by Shirley Clarke, Dylan Wiliam and the National Strategy

Look at the problems you have solved today. Where were you successful? What approach
did you take?

Bexley Primary Mathematics Team