One teacher had showed the class some good descriptive writing. This not only helped them generate the success criteria but captured their imagination and created a buzz. The quality of their resulting writing was improved and helped them focus on skills rather than content.
Another teacher had presented the children with a broken crystal shoe in a box leading to science investigation. One teacher’s husband dressed up as a pirate as stimulus for another lesson.
Statements had also been used to capture interest first. Showing two contrasting pieces of writing and getting children to say what made one better was also successful.
One teacher used the terms ‘Learning ladybird’ and ‘Successful spider’ instead of learning objective and success criteria, which she felt was more child friendly.
All teachers in this group had found it worked to get children to generate success criteria, via the different strategies suggested (doing it wrong/one excellent product/comparing products etc.)
Capturing interest often relied on having a good resource for the initial stimulus.
The impact of these strategies had been that children were more motivated, valued each other’s work more, contributed more and were improving continually. Children know what they have to do to achieve and now more likely to be successful.
Teachers had experimented with delaying the learning objectives which had led to children being engaged immediately, having a growth mindset and having more understanding of expectations. One teacher put an egg in the classroom which the children discovered. She then asked questions about it to encourage descriptions.
Success criteria had often been generated by children via the effective start (e.g. showing a good piece of work and spotting features). One teacher had a ‘cauldron’ of ingredients for ‘every time we write’ features. An incomplete example was also successful for the success criteria for a letter. In maths, mistakes were included in a problem and children were asked what had gone wrong. Once success criteria were generated children could use them for self and peer assessment.
Pupil generated success criteria are remembered by children and transferred to different contexts. Having children comment on another child’s work under the visualiser mid lesson meant they were more open and willing to criticise each other’s work in a climate of mutual respect.
Brighton and Hove
Teachers had tried capturing interest first for numeracy and science. Generation of success criteria followed. Children were engaged immediately, focused on the success criteria and approaching lessons with a more open mind than when confronted at the beginning with the LO.
In one class the LO had been removed from visual timetables, which had lessened pupil anxiety.
One teacher had used the ‘statement on the whiteboard’ strategy (‘I don’t believe animals should be saved in Africa’) but children got bogged down with who had left the message rather than debating!
Being ‘Mrs Muddle’ was effective before the LO was introduced, with children very engaged correcting the teacher.
Teachers had also used last year’s work to ask what was successful and what would make it even better. Their ideas formed the success criteria (‘steps for success’ in some schools). This had led to children being excited about giving constructive criticism to each other about their work.
Mid lesson stops to evaluate against success criteria had become the norm, leading to children aiming higher. They know that their work could be shown under the visualiser.
One teacher described a session where the start was seeing what a good one looks like, followed by generation of the success criteria. Children were clear about what was needed. Some teachers found literacy criteria easier, whereas others found the closed nature of numeracy easier.
For older children it was good to break the criteria down into more detail. This had made it clearer for children and enabled them to set targets for next term.
Learning stops had become the norm with children using success criteria by themselves to ensure they were achieved. They are also setting targets for each other. They are asking questions then asking for evidence (e.g. Where is you technical vocabulary? Where is your evidence?)
In numeracy lessons the general strategy was to teach a method first then ask children for the success criteria to use for the future. Children now have better understanding and are more able to explain to others.
Brighton & Hove
Suzanne Morgan | firstname.lastname@example.org
Ellesmere Port, Cheshire
Anne Vickers | email@example.com
Paul Wilson | firstname.lastname@example.org
Amy Parry | email@example.com