Using Success Criteria to Spark Motivation in Your Students
Think about a time when you were learning something. Did you know where you were going in the learning progression? Did you understand the outcome?
Nancy Frey, Douglas Fisher, Olivia Amador, and Joseph Assof (2018), authors of The Teacher Clarity Playbook, compare learning and outcomes to a pilot flying a plane.
“Imagine getting into an airplane that was being flown by a pilot who didn’t know where he or she was headed. Rather, a control tower would contact her at some unspecified time in the future to let her know she had arrived, or worse, that she missed the mark entirely. That is a completely irrational way to fly a plane” (p. 20).
Students are flying their own “learning plane.” If we know they know where they are headed, learning would be much more successful and efficient. If students know the outcome of the learning, know what the goals of the learning are, and are able to communicate how they’ll get there, then they have taken ownership of their learning. But the question is, how do we as teachers help our students get there? (p. 20)
One way is through implementing Success Criteria.
What is success criteria?
To start, we need to think about teacher clarity. A major part of teacher clarity is understanding what students need to learn and identifying how they’ll know that they learned it (p. xv). To do this we need to analyze standards, plan meaningful instruction and assessments with impact, and clarify expectations (p.xv). Success criteria helps students know what success looks like. When students know this, they are more likely to plan and predict, set goals, and acquire a stronger sense of how to judge their own progress (p.xvi).
Success criteria really provides students with an opportunity to assess their own learning. Think of it as an assessment as learning. Assessment as learning occurs when students personally monitor what they’re learning and use the feedback from this monitoring to make adjustments, adaptations, and even major changes in what they understand. Fisher et. al explain that “success criteria let students in on the secret that has been too often kept from them — what the destination looks like” (p. 20). Part of success criteria are the learning intentions (or objectives) that are communicated to students, which is an end result of careful planning. The success criteria provide a mean for students and teachers to gauge progress toward learning. Success criteria makes learning visible to the teacher and the student (p.20).
Video: Targeting Learning with Success Criteria
Why is success criteria effective?
Success criteria have been shown to increase students’ internal motivation. It provides students with clear, specific, and attainable goals that can spark motivation. Even in some of the most reluctant learners (p.20). The more explicitly and precisely they can see the goal, the more motivated they will likely be to meet that goal. The authors of the The Teacher Clarity Playbook explain that, “internal motivation to succeed is one of the most important things your students can learn” (p. 20).
What are examples of success criteria?
Success criteria is NOT “do your best” or “try hard” and they are NOT tasks to be completed, like “finish the art project” or “finish the writing assignment.”
Success criteria does include “I can” statements that focus on future success levels.
- Ex. I can use correct grammar so my reader can read my writing.
Success criteria can be statements of what has been learned.
- Ex. My response explains the main idea and has evidence from the text that supports the main idea.
There can be multiple success criteria per learning intention.
Ex. Learning Intention: I am learning how to compare fractions.
- I can identify the numerator and denominator.
- I can draw a model to represent fractions.
- I can use inequality symbols to compare fractions.
Success criteria can also include rubrics or teacher/student co-constructed rubrics. The rubrics need to be written with descriptive and strong language so students can monitor their own learning.
There are multiple ways to create and implement success criteria. How might you use them in your classroom?
How to Write Success Criteria
Introduction: The Importance of Setting Success Criteria
The importance of setting success criteria is to provide a clear and measurable goal for a lesson or unit of work. It is important to write success criteria so that relevant feedback can be given to students and their work can be evaluated.
A number of studies have shown that learning gains are more likely to occur when learners have success criteria and the opportunity to reflect on their performance. The idea is that learners need to be guided by feedback because they cannot tell what they don’t know.
What are Success Criteria?
Success Criteria are specific, measurable standards that are used to judge the success of a given project, task, or idea. Success criteria is often used in the classroom to help students understand how they will be graded. In the learning context, success criteria are generally written as ‘I can’ statements.
How to Build Success Criteria Into Your Teaching
Success criteria are the key to designing an effective lesson. They are a set of guidelines that help teachers to determine how well a student has learned the content. Here are some tips on how to write success criteria for your students.
Success criteria should be measurable and specific
The more specific the success criteria, the better they are for students to understand exactly what is expected of them during a lesson. It is important for success criteria to include both examples and detailed instruction.
A good example of an outcome might be: “Students will learn how to create a table summarizing information.”
A detailed instruction might read:
“In order to create a table summarizing information, students should follow these steps:
- Choose a topic in which you are interested and have ideas about.
- Write your own definition for the topic in 1 to 4 sentences.
- List 10 key points on the topic.
- Add a quote from the person you are writing about that demonstrates their thoughts, feelings, or opinions.
- Create an image that illustrates your topic using at least 5 details from your definition and 5 details from each key point.
- Share what you created.
Align Success Criteria with the Assessment
In order for students to progress, the success criteria should be aligned with the overall goals of the assessment. If they are not, then it is likely that students will not be able to complete it successfully. However, if they are aligned with the overall goals of the assessment and students can see what they need to do in order to produce quality work, then this can increase student motivation and engagement.
Start and End with the Success Criteria
The beginning and the end of any lesson should always be the success criteria. This will give students a clear understanding of what they are supposed to learn and what they are supposed to do after completing the lesson. It also allows teachers to assess whether or not the student has learned what is expected of them.
Here is an infographic with some tips for writing Success Criteria.
Success Criteria Tips
Here are some free templates that support you in using success criteria in your classroom.
Green Illustrated I Can Achievement WorksheetDark Blue Simple Worksheet Unit Progress TrackerColourful Floral Classroom Poster Unit Overview Display by Brolga Education
Blue Iconography Digital Feedback FormGreen Bright Online Whiteboard Feedback Form
Blue & Grey Fun Digital Feedback FormGreen & Yellow Illustrated Unit Presentation Geography by Brolga Education
Conclusion: Why You Should Always Have Success Criteria Before Starting Any Lesson
It is important for teachers to have success criteria before starting any lesson. This will help the teacher know what their goals are for the student and how they can measure success.
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Criteria for the success of teaching students in general education schools
Kurapova, T. Yu. Criteria for the success of teaching students in general education schools / T. Yu. Kurapova. — Text: direct // Psychology in Russia and abroad: materials of the I Intern. scientific conf. (St. Petersburg, October 2011). — St. Petersburg: Renome, 2011. — S. 106-109. — URL: https://moluch.ru/conf/psy/archive/32/1092/ (date of access: 06/29/2023).
The problem of the success of schoolchildren excites the minds
scientists for more than one century. Evidence for this can be found in the works
Aristotle, Ya.A. Comenius, K.D. Ushinsky and many other classics
Despite the length of the study, this problem remains
relevant even today. In daily practice, we often encounter
a number of questions: which student is considered successful, how to evaluate
student learning success. In addition, there is a change in concepts
«achievement» and «learning success». We
deeply convinced that these concepts are not equivalent.
Analysis of psychological and pedagogical literature allows
we can conclude that achievement should be understood as the degree
coincidence of real results of educational activity with
planned. Learning success is a broader concept that
consists of external evaluation by teachers, parents of results
educational activities of the child, the effectiveness of teachers used
ways to achieve learning goals and, most importantly,
student satisfaction with the learning process and learning outcomes.
Thus, the student who, in the learning process, will be successful
managed to overcome his fear, difficulties, confusion,
disorganization. Such a student is satisfied with himself
and their activities. And, on the contrary, unhappy, anxious, tortured
regulatory requirements and expectations of those around an excellent student, on our
look cannot be classified as successful, because study does not bring
him joy, satisfaction, everything that is included in the concept
Unfortunately, there are no methods for evaluating
success, although attempts are being made to achieve this.
Conventionally, all criteria can be divided into pedagogical,
psychological. Let’s dwell on them in more detail
The ability of the student to master educational
programs offered by the school.
Ability to demonstrate one’s knowledge,
skills and abilities.
Indeed, an indirect indicator of success
learning is their performance in school disciplines,
expressed in final scores. Moreover, the emphasis should not be on
lesson points, and on the marks received for independent and
control work performed without the help of a teacher or a collective
B.B. Kulagin as indicators of the success of training offers
use marks in exams and tests, performance assessments
control tasks; receive rewards and rewards.
Teacher N.V. Sobol proposes to evaluate the success of training, as follows
way. Students at the end of the lesson or at the last lesson of the topic
a control task is issued for independent execution. Teacher
measures the time it takes each student to complete the task. In progress
check counts the number of correctly performed operations,
as a whole, and on the newly studied material.
To evaluate the effectiveness, a coefficient is introduced, determined by
formula: K p = a / A , where a —
training accuracy, determined by the number of correctly performed
control task operations; A — the total number of operations in
assignment. The success rate is individual
indicator of assimilation, ideally it should be equal to one.
The effectiveness of teaching is considered by the teacher as
student productivity, that is, the accuracy of teaching,
per unit of time for the execution of the control task:
Q=a/t, where t-
individual task completion time. Learning is more effective
the more correct operations are performed in less time, i.e.
the larger the Q value.
But at different lessons tasks of different complexity are performed. That’s why
it is not possible to compare the effectiveness of lessons with each other
possible. For this, the ideal efficiency Q and are introduced.
Q and \u003d A / t and,
where t and is the smallest
(ideal) time required to complete the control task,
determined by the teacher on the best work of students or with
with the help of independent experts. And then the coefficient is determined
learning efficiency according to the formula: K e =
It is clear that the closer the value of the coefficient to unity, the
Greater efficiency has been achieved in the learning process.
The proposed approach makes it possible to reveal the relationship between
the effectiveness and efficiency of training, since from the formulas
it follows that K e \u003d K p t and / t.
Thus, with the same performance, the efficiency
increases as the task execution time decreases. And vice versa,
for the same task execution time, the efficiency will be the same
the higher the learning outcome. If the execution time
task coincides with the ideal time, then the efficiency coefficient
becomes equal to the success rate. In normal practice
the teacher often limits the time for completing the control task. IN
this case, H.V. Sobol proposes not to measure
efficiency, but to establish a correspondence between the proposed
performance ratio and the traditional five-point assessment,
for example: a coefficient value between 0 and 0.3 means
«unsatisfactory», for the result from 0.3 to 0.5 —
«satisfactory», for the result from 0.5 to 0.7 — «good»
and from 0.7 to 1 — «excellent». 
The proposed approach to assessing the success of training, in our opinion,
is not entirely complete, since it covers only one
The component of success is achievement. But at the same time,
positive is that, according to the proposed method, the student can
compare your results throughout the school year.
The currently used scoring system does not
an accurate idea of the degree of achievement of the learning outcome
a specific student. It is known that the «troika» of one
student, may be «almost a deuce» or «almost
four» of another. Moreover, in practice it often happens that
excellent students are overestimated, and underachieving students are underestimated,
even if his knowledge deserves high marks.
Confirmation of this can be found in the psychological
literature «… the school mark is too
generalized assessment to accurately measure student behavior and
stimulate their learning activities. Apparently more correct
use a differentiated evaluation system that would
grades for effort (effort, diligence, etc.) and grades for quality
result” [2; 139-140].
Sharing the point of view of scientists, we believe that at present
school mark evaluates only the quality of acquired knowledge, skills,
and not the moral dignity of the individual and the price of that success, with the help of
which this success was achieved.
Therefore, it is very important to evaluate the success of training with
in terms of psychological criteria, which should include:
Positive development dynamics
Positive motivation for learning, positive attitude towards school,
preservation of cognitive interest — a student who does not
loves school and does not want to study, cannot be called successful
Social adaptability — he is good at school, among
peers and teachers
Positive relationship between student and teacher
success is out of the question if the teacher does not understand and
accepts a student, but the student does not love and is afraid of his teacher
Positive relationships with classmates
Good physical and mental health
Adequately positive self-esteem — the child himself must
Feeling of well-being in the family — anxious, twitchy A student
cannot be called a successful student
Anthropocentric philosophy is of interest
D. B. Elkonin and V.V. Davydov, who puts the basis of education
human relations, subject positions: adult-child,
child-child, active-activity way of learning. Wherein
the main criteria for the success of a child’s education are
psychological comfort, sanitary-hygienic and emotional
effect, motor activity. 
Analysis of different approaches to the problem of assessing educational
student achievement (A. Anastasi, M.N. Skatkin,
M.A. Choshantsev, G. Harman, V.A. Yakunin and others) allowed
identify such qualitative indicators of success as cognitive
activity, independence and creativity.
According to E. Torrens, creativity in the learning process
activity finds its expression in a heightened perception
personality of the student of shortcomings, gaps in knowledge, missing
elements, disharmony, etc.
According to the degree of inclusion of creative elements in various types
independent work can be divided into several types of manifestation
mental independence: reproducing (according to the model),
reconstructive, heuristic and research.
Mental creative independence is just one of the
specific manifestations of independence as a property of personality and
subject of activity. Independence also manifests itself in other
aspects of educational activity, in particular in its organization, and
more precisely, in self-organization. Self-organization is the way
organization by the students of their own cognitive activity
Independence is the most essential feature of a person and
as a person and as a subject of activity. Man as a person
emphasizes L.I. Antsyferova, “always on his own
paves its own unique individual path” [1; 4].
Cognitive activity is considered as
behavioral form of expression of motivation, external procedural
the side of which finds its expression in the characteristics of the committed
activities. Cognitive autonomy is essential for
making autonomous decisions in the process of overcoming educational
difficulties. It manifests itself in the desire and ability to independently
think, find your own approach to solving the problem, in
independence of one’s own judgments, in the desire to understand the educational
information and learn how to obtain it.
Professional orientation, educational activity,
mental independence, academic achievement and learning
success — all these criteria, various in form, can be
attributed to internal criteria in a particular pedagogical system.
All pedagogical systems are interconnected and therefore the quality and
the results of the work of some educational institutions are reflected in the state of affairs
in others, especially when these institutions are in
succession relationships. So, the poor work of general education
schools cause many problems in the higher education system, and
the poor performance of universities that graduate weak specialists is reflected in
decrease in the level and efficiency of production, and, consequently, on
the level and pace of socio-economic development of the entire country.
Therefore, internal criteria for evaluating the performance of various
educational institutions should be supplemented, according to N.V. Kuzmina,
V. A. Yakunin, external. External criteria are management
educational activities and organization of the learning process,
independent work of students, adaptation of the graduate to
production, its professional stability, growth rates
professional excellence and related job titles
promotion, growth rate of the self-education process, level
education or professional skills, willingness to improve
their education, assessments given by other people.
So, student success is not only an objective indicator
high results of cognitive activity, not only
positive evaluation of the teacher, but also positive self-esteem and
self-perception of the child. Based on this, the main criterion
learning success, in our opinion, will be the ability of a student with
the lowest energy costs to achieve the highest
results. This is due to the manifestation of many abilities, for example,
such as: do everything on time, feel the situation, apply
rational means to achieve the goal, attract to
own people, feel a sense of joy, satisfaction, confidence in
own strength, do not lose heart, do not succumb to difficulties, carefully
take care of your health, etc.
Antsyferova L.I. To the psychology of personality as a developing system //
Psychology of formation and development of personality. M., 1981.
Markova, A.K., Matis, T.A., Orlov, A.B. Formation
learning motivation. M., 1990.
Sobol N.V. Evaluation of student learning success.
Elkonin D.B. Psychological issues
the formation of educational activities in primary school
age / / Reader on developmental and educational psychology / Under
ed. I.I. Ilyasova, V.Ya. Laudis. – M., 1981.
Yakunin V.A. Pedagogical psychology. — St. Petersburg: Mikhailov Publishing House
Basic terms (automatically generated) : control task, learning activity, task completion time, learning success, coefficient value, cognitive activity, Proposed approach, professional skills, mental independence, school mark.
Criteria for the success of education of pupils of general education schools
The problem of educational success, which is still relevant today, has existed for many centuries. Confirmation of this is the mention of this aspect in the works of Aristotle, Comenius, Ushinsky. Today, teachers are faced with questions: what kind of student is successful and how to evaluate this success.
In pedagogical and psychological work, progress is considered the degree of coincidence of the results of educational activities with those that were planned. A more capacious concept of learning success, it is an external assessment of the results of the student’s educational activities by the teacher, parents, in addition, this also includes satisfaction with the students themselves, both with the learning process and with the result of learning.
It turns out that a student who manages to overcome disorganization, confusion, his fear and various difficulties in the process of learning is successful. Such a student is satisfied with himself and his work. If a student is an excellent student, but at the same time unhappy, anxious, tortured by the expectations of others and regulatory requirements, it is impossible to call him successful, due to the fact that he does not experience satisfaction and joy from the educational process.
At the moment, there are no methods that would assess success, despite attempts to determine them. Conditionally, evaluation criteria can be divided into pedagogical and psychological. The pedagogical ones include:
- the student’s ability to learn school educational programs;
- the ability to demonstrate their knowledge, skills and abilities.
It is fair to say that the final marks indirectly express the success of training, and it is the final, not the lesson. Particular attention is paid to works performed without outside help — control and independent. So, the teacher N.V. Sobol proposes to assess the success of training in this way: after studying the topic of the lesson, students are given a test, which they must complete on their own. For each student, the teacher marks the time for completing the task. During the check, he counts the number of correct operations, both in general and according to the newly studied material.
1 Performance evaluation
2 School assessment
3 Criteria for evaluation
4 Activity and success
Evaluation of performance
In order to evaluate the performance , we enter the coefficient, the formula for which will be: Кр=а/А, where Кр – performance coefficient; a — training accuracy, determined by the number of correct operations; A is the total number of operations. Such a coefficient is an individual indicator of how much the student has mastered the material, you need to strive for Kp = 1.
The teacher considers the effectiveness of learning as the productivity of students or the accuracy of learning, which falls on a certain unit of time for completing the control: Q=a/t, where t is the individual time spent on the task. The larger Q, the more correct operations the student performed in a shorter time interval, and the more effective the training.
It should be taken into account that in different lessons the tasks have different complexity, so it is impossible to compare the effectiveness of the lessons with each other. To do this, we introduce the formula for ideal efficiency: Qi \u003d A / ti, where the value of t is the ideal (smallest) time spent on the control. It is determined by the teacher either with the help of independent experts, or by the best work. Next, we determine the coefficient of training efficiency: Ke=Q/Qi. The efficiency will be the higher, the closer the value of the coefficient is to unity.
This approach makes it possible to determine the relationship between the effectiveness and efficiency of training, since, as can be seen from the formulas, Ke \u003d Kp * ti / t. With the same effectiveness and a decrease in the time spent on doing work, the effectiveness of training will increase, and vice versa — with the same time, the higher the effectiveness of training, the higher the efficiency. If the values of the task completion time and the ideal time coincide, the efficiency and effectiveness coefficients also coincide. If we take into account the time limit for completing a task, which is often found in school practice, Sobol suggests not measuring efficiency, but determining the correspondence between the performance coefficient and a five-point assessment. For example, if the coefficient is equal to 0.3 or less, the rating is “unsatisfactory”, if 0.3-0.5 is “satisfactory”, the result 0.5-0.7 means the rating is “good”, and 0.7 -1 — «excellent».
It is fair to say that this approach is not entirely complete, it covers only one of the components of success — academic performance. A positive aspect of the approach is the opportunity for the student to compare their results throughout the school year.
Evaluation at school
Today the scoring system is widespread, but it does not allow to accurately determine the degree of achievement of the student’s learning result. So, a “three” given to one student for another can mean “almost a deuce” or “almost a four”. Also, quite often, excellent students are overestimated, and underachieving students are underestimated. In the psychological literature one can find the opinion that school mark too general assessment, which cannot accurately measure the student’s behavior and stimulate his learning activities. Probably, it would be more correct to use a differentiated grading system, which provides for marks for diligence, effort, diligence and the quality of the result.
Indeed, according to many psychologists, a school mark is capable of assessing only the quality of acquired skills and knowledge, but not moral virtues and efforts and efforts to achieve success. That is why, in order to assess the success of training, it is important to consider it from the point of view of not only pedagogical, but also psychological criteria, including:
- positive dynamics of development;
- positive: motivation for learning, attitude to school, the presence of cognitive interest;
- social adaptation;
- positive relationship student-teacher, student-classmates;
- good mental and physical health;
- adequately positive self-assessment;
- well-being in the family.
The anthropocentric philosophy of V.V. Davydov and D.B. Elkonin, which is based on human relations and positions of subjects: child-child, adult-child, active-activity way of learning. The main criteria for the success of training are psychological comfort, emotional and sanitary-hygienic effect, physical activity.
E. Torrens singles out creativity as one of the criteria for success, which in the process of learning activity is expressed in a heightened perception by the student of shortcomings, disharmony, insufficient elements in the system of his knowledge.
Mental independence according to the types of manifestation is reproducing, reconstructive, heuristic and research. It is only one of the manifestations of independence as a subject of activity and personality traits. Independence is also manifested in the self-organization of cognitive activity. In addition, it is the most essential sign of a person as a subject of activity and as a person.
Cognitive activity is considered as a behavioral form of expression of motivation, in which the external procedural side is expressed in the characteristics of the activity performed. Cognitive independence allows you to make autonomous decisions when overcoming learning difficulties. It manifests itself in the ability and desire to think independently, to find an approach to solving a problem, regardless of one’s judgments, in the desire to understand information and study ways to obtain it.
Activity and success
Activity in studies, professional orientation, academic performance, mental independence and educational success can be attributed to the internal criteria of various pedagogical systems. All these systems are interconnected, therefore the result and quality of work of one educational institution is reflected in the state of affairs in another, especially if there are successive relations between them. For example, the unsatisfactory work of a general education school causes various problems in institutions of higher education, and the unsatisfactory work of universities that train weak specialists leads to a decrease in production efficiency, which in turn will affect the socio-economic development of the country. That is why, when evaluating the effectiveness of the work of an educational institution, internal criteria should be supplemented with external ones, including: the organization of the learning process and the management of educational activities. Independent work of students, adaptation in the workplace of graduates of universities and vocational schools, the rate of professional growth and promotion, the rate of growth of self-education, the level of professional skills and education.
So, success of student is not only an objective indicator of his high results of cognitive activity and a positive assessment of the teacher, it is also a positive self-assessment of the student. From this it follows that the main criterion for the success of training is the ability of the student to achieve the greatest result at the lowest energy cost. This is due to such abilities as: do your business on time, use rational means to achieve the goal, feel the situation, experience a sense of joy, self-confidence, satisfaction, not lose heart, not give up in the face of difficulties, take care of health and so on.