The English Classroom

A GUIDE TO IMPROVING STUDENT LITERACY

The Situation

Your students need to understand what must be demonstrated in the lesson.

The Solution


What is a Success Criteria?

A success criteria is a set of two-four “I can” statement that contribute to a student’s overall learning during a lesson. For example, I can identify a metaphor in The Raven. It simply outlines the skills that need to be demonstrated during the lesson. The success criteria should be ticked off cyclically during the lessons, so that students understand how they are traveling with the learning.

A success criteria is much like an action plan. It outlines the smaller pieces of learning that students will complete to get to a point where the learning intention will be achieved. Below, is an example of what I use:

Here is the learning intentions presented with the success criteria:



The overall learning focused on language features in a gothic narrative. To achieve this learning, I had students look at The Raven. Now, you wouldn’t have to look at The Raven to achieve this goal – you could look at any number of gothic narrative or poems. This is the sweet spot of the success criteria and learning intention. The end goal is always the same, but you are free to adjust the road leading there. For example, we could look at poetic devices in a different poem and still achieve the learning goal.

Warning: the success criteria is not a step one, step two process. It is not a checklist. It simply outlines what students can do. This is why they are written using “I can statement”.


Differentiating Success Criteria


Aside from the above, you can also differentiate the success criteria. Some students can dig deeper into their learning than others and should be encouraged to extend themselves. If possible, give students another option that they can achieve after the central learning has been completed.

Below is the learning intention:



And the differentiated success criteria, encouraging students to use a rubric to goal-set for future learning.


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