I remember sitting in a workshop last year where we were challenged to look deeper at the learning goals we set for our students and how we should co-create the success criteria in order to ensure that students understand how to achieve the goal or expectations set out for a particular unit/strand. I also remember wondering whether it would be worth it to put in the time and effort to fully implement this latest strategy/tool in my own classroom with all the additional initiatives I was taking on with respect to my professional learning. I decided to learn as much as possible about using learning goals and success criteria in my teaching and assessment practices.
Today, I can honestly say it is one of the best learning experiences I’ve had in my career thus far. In many respects, it has changed the way my students understand what they are learning, why they are learning specific concepts/skills, and how they can demonstrate what they know.
Everyday I share a learning goal with my class and how that concept/skill will help them in a real life context. Within each unit of study or topic we focus on, I create the learning goal by using the curriculum expectations and, together with my students, we co-create the success criteria to achieve the learning goal by using mentor texts, level 3 and 4 responses, etc. Students know the importance of using the success criteria to edit, revise, and share their knowledge and understanding in a clear and concise way.
We have a saying I took from Maya Angelou: “When you know better, you do better.” When students know what is expected and how they can achieve the learning goal, they have a better chance of succeeding and progressing further.