How Do Teachers Create Success Criteria?

We interupt the Sunday Sizzle due to parents request!

We have almost finished unpacking Success Criteria (SC), but a little DM popped up on Instagram late one night…

“Miss Donald, I get the Success Criteria. My child gets it too, but where do the teachers get them from?”


The cogs in my mind started to turn. Here is the bite-size version of how teachers CREATE the SC.

The curriculum is the base.

It is a huge document, so it is broken up and spread out across a year. Think; a calendar with each week containing a concept to be learned. So, if I were say a Level 4 teacher, I would know that in the third week of Term 2, the children will be learning about Time in Mathematics.

The teachers then take the concept and shift it to a Learning Intention. To use our Time example, we would grab a sentence within Time, e.g. ‘Convert between units of time’ and pop it into learner friendly language…

  • Learning Intention: To understand the relationship between 12 and 24 hour time

THEN it’s time to build a SC.

We ask, “what does success look like at the end of this lesson, unit OR series of lessons?”

Again, tapping back to our Time example, “what does it look like if a child is successfully understanding the relationship between 12 and 24 hour time?”

As a graduate teacher, I thought of it like a ladder. At the top is the Learning Intention that EVERY child is trying to achieve, then each rung of the ladder is a SC. Not all children will achieve each SC. That’s okay.

In a Level 4 classroom, we may have some SC at a Year 8 level. Why? Because when we are deliberating on what success looks like, our classroom learning shows that children differ by more than 6 levels.

How does this translate to home?

In my first blog, I detailed that you, dear parent, were an educator all along. Let me prove it.

You would ask this (GOLDEN) question, albeit subconsciously, each day.

“What does success look like?”

  • When throwing together dinner – I don’t know about you, but I’m no chef. My dinners are constructed and de-structed in moments. So as I create, my thoughts are on the end game, what will it look like, will my toddler eat it and will we be nourished. This is my Success Criteria.
  • When ‘walking to school’ each morning – we pretend to walk to school each morning to build predictability into a routine-less existence right now. As I set the pram up, pop my runners on and dash out the door, I’m asking, will I miss the rain, which track will have the least puddles and will Baby J be warm enough? Again, this is my Success Criteria.

We are constantly building a picture of what SUCCESS looks like in our minds.

This is what SC does for the children.

As teachers and now parent educators, we align our perspective of success in learning (clearly stated in the SC). Then we SHARE it with the learners to give them the best opportunity for achievement.

Sometimes we even show it, by creating examples.

Can you imagine the productivity if our jobs had that sort of predictability on an hour to hour basis?

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