7 ways that learning intentions and success criteria will make your life easier and improve student outcomes
Sep 09, 2020
Professor John Hattie’s concept of ‘Visible learning’ is all about making the learning process more transparent and accessible to students, so that students are better able to navigate and regulate their own learning. In order to do this, we need to make sure that we are providing learning intentions and success criteria to our students at all times.
Let’s start out by briefly defining what each of these are:
A learning intention is synonymous with a learning goal or objective. It outlines what the student will be learning during that particular lesson, and will typically begin with ‘we are learning how to/ why/ about, etc'
Success criteria provide the means by which the learning that has taken place can be measured or evaluated. Students and teachers can use success criteria to determine if the learning intention has been addressed successfully. Success criteria must include instructional words to indicate the depth of learning (eg. Identify, list, define, describe, explain, analyse, compare, evaluate, create, etc).
Ok, so now that we are clear on what learning intentions and success criteria are, let’s dive into the benefits!
Including them in your teaching program helps to provide a clear roadmap that will help you and your students navigate between the start and end point of their learning for a unit of work.
When you invest time in including learning intentions and success criteria in your teaching programs, you will reap the benefits throughout that particular unit of work. This way, you can provide all of the learning intentions and success criteria to your students at the very beginning of the unit of work, and they can use this as a checklist so that they can monitor their progress along the way
It will make your lesson planning easier
I’m sure this has happened to you before - you spend hours searching the internet for teaching resources that are relevant to the content, only to discover that it doesn’t quite hit the mark for your students' needs. By knowing the exact learning intentions and success criteria, you can easily work out what activities or teaching strategies are needed, and then work out what resources will suit that type of activity the best. This makes lesson planning so much quicker and easier, and means that you are no longer trawling the internet for hours looking for resources.
It will make assessment creation easier
When you know exactly what learning intentions you want to assess, and are clear on what the success criteria are, you will have a much better idea on what kind of assessment will suit best. Students will also have a much better idea of how to prepare for it. This article
has more info on this topic.
It will make marking easer and feedback more effective.
Your success criteria will essentially inform the rubric that you can use to assess your students. By creating a rubric , your making time and the amount of comments you need to write will greatly decrease, as much of your feedback can be conveyed by simply highlighting the parts of the rubric that your students have met, and circling or annotating parts of it that you think they need to work on.
This provides much more specific and consistent feedback across all students, and gives them a lot of information for them to write their own evaluation and reflection, which will then increase the impact of your feedback.
It will encourage more self-regulation and independence in your students
When students are aware of exactly what they are supposed to be learning, and how they can work out if they have been successful in that learning, then this means that they are in a much better position to monitor and evaluate their own learning along the way. If they have this information to refer to, then they can become more independent in their learning and not have to rely on you as the teacher quite as much.
When you write success criteria, you can provide cues for differentiation within them. For example, you could use a must, should, could model. Or, you could use a colour coding system within the success criteria that you can make your students aware of.
It will help your students make faster progress
When students are aware of what the milestones are, and the criteria against what they will be assessed against, they are better able to set, monitor and achieve specific and realistic learning goals. Goal-setting is a really important skill for students to develop, and the better that they get at this, the more self-confidence and self-esteem they will develop, which will give them even more momentum that will fast-track their progress.
There you have it! By integrating learning intentions and success criteria into your teaching on an on-going basis, both you and your students will reap the rewards.
If you would like to access my free step-by-step guide on how to create and use learning intentions to their maximum benefit in your classroom, click here.