Session 4.2 - Learning objectives and success criteria
1 Review of follow-up activities from last session
If you are running a professional learning programme which follows these sessions in sequence, then you should do the review of follow-up activities relating to the previous session (Introduction to Assessment for Learning). The 'review of follow-up activities' for that session is available here, and also shown below in the session text. However, if you are following selected sessions in a different order, then you should use the reflection appropriate to the previous session you did.
The review of the follow-up activities for this session (to be done at the start of the next session) is available here.
- Did you update the word document (info) and save it in your files area on the desktop? Discuss if there were any issues as this activity will be repeated again this week.
- Did you use the Traffic Lights in your class? Share your experience by answering these questions:
- For which topic did you ask your students to use Traffic Lights?
- Did you try different ways of using them such as holding them up all together or putting them forward on the table while they were working?
- How did you handle when students showed different lights?
- Did you employ classroom assistants for helping with Traffic Lights? Will you do it again? Why?
- From your experience, discuss any advantages or disadvantages of using them in your context.
- How did your students handle using the Traffic Lights? (e.g. ease/ difficulty of using them, indicating proper/improper light) What steps will you take so that this can be improved in future lessons?
- Did you manage to see the video and Powerpoint shown in the last session together after the workshop? Share if you observed anything new about the concept of AfL or practice of AfL in classroom (i.e. share something that was not discussed in the workshop last week).
2 My assessment inventory
Individual activity (5 min): Updating the assessment inventory Update the assessment inventory (info) that you started in the previous session. Add the date in the second row and describe your current understanding of assessment by identifying different kinds or elements of assessment. Then record the assessment measures that you have used. Please take care that you mention only the measures that you have used yourself and not the measures that you know of but have not tried. If you have used Traffic Lights for assessment you can include that now.
3 Need for Sharing Learning Objectives and Success Criteria
It was mentioned in the powerpoint presentation last week that sharing learning objectives and success criteria are two AfL strategies. We will now do an activity to illustrate these strategies. After you complete each question, swap with your neighbour and assess each others attempt (peer assessment).
Individual activity (10 min): Answering questions. Fold a plain sheet of paper into 3 equal parts. Write ‘Answer 1’ on the top of the first section, ‘Answer 2’ on the top of the second section and ‘Answer 3’ on the top of the third section. The facilitator will display and read 3 questions for you. Answer them in the respective area on the sheet.
Same-task group work (5 min) in pairs: Peer assessment. After answering each question, exchange your sheet with the person sitting next to you. Assess their work. Be critical. Then take your sheets back to answer the next question.
The questions are given below. Write each question on the blackboard or flip chart sheets and display them one at a time . Also read them out.
Allow 3-4 minutes to answer each question, but no longer. After answering each question, ask participants to exchange their sheets and assess their neighbour’s work. Do not allow participants to change answers or assessment once it has been done.
While reading, say the words exactly as they are given below:
- Question 1: Draw a child.
- Question 2: We are learning to name parts of the body. For this please draw a child (do this again even though you did it already in question 1) and label parts of its body.
- Question 3: For the activity of drawing and labelling parts of the body, your success criteria are that your picture should show: (1) at least three parts of the body that are sense organs and (2) at least three parts of the body that have joints.
If participants are not sure about sense organs, mention that there are five senses: seeing, tasting, hearing, touching and smelling.
If participants are not sure about parts of the body that have joints, give examples such as elbow, knee, shoulder.
First, think as a learner who was assessed,
- Answering which question was easiest? Why?
- In which question were you most and least sure about your success? Why?
- In which question did you have most and least anxiety about the outcome? Why?
Now, think as an assessor,
- Assessing which question was most easy and least easy? Why?
- Assessing which question was most fair and least fair? Why?
Which of the questions has resulted in the most meaningful drawing of a child?
Inform participants that: Question 2 is an example of sharing learning objectives with students; and Question 3 is an example of sharing success criteria with students. More discussion on this will be done during this session, but see if participants realise that learners can succeed much more easily in the classroom if they are told in advance what the criteria for success are.
4 Understanding Learning Objectives and Success Criteria
‘Learning objective’ has also been referred to as ‘Learning intention’ in AfL literature.
A learning Intention is simply a description of what you want your pupils to know, understand or be able to do by the end of a lesson. It tells pupils what the focus for learning is going to be. (AfL Guidance (2007) KS 1-2, Pg 8)
Success criteria are the statements that help pupils recognise if they have been successful in their learning. They summarise the main teaching points (key ingredients) or processes (key steps), and they always link directly to the learning intention. They essentially spell out the steps required to achieve the learning intention, offering explicit guidance on how to be successful. By referring to the success criteria, pupils know if they have achieved the learning intention. (AfL Guidance (2007) KS 1-2, Pg 12)
Consider watching this short video if you are unsure of the differences between learning objectives and success criteria. The teacher in the video uses two acronyms for these:
- W A L T = We Are Learning To... (learning objectives)
- W I L F = What I 'm Looking For... (success criteria)
- What are the similarities between Learning Objectives and Success Criteria for AfL?
- What are the differences between Learning Objectives and Success Criteria for AfL?
Mention these points if participants have not already mentioned them.
Learning Objectives and Success Criteria are similar because:
- success criteria spell out the specific features of the learning objective
- learning objective and success criteria can be same (constant over time) even if the activity changes, e.g. parts of the body can be learnt by drawing (as above) or it can be learnt through poems, stories, questioning and dialogue, or direct teaching; but learning objective and success criteria remain the same
- both provide guidance to students about what is expected from them
Learning Objective and Success Criteria are different because:
- Learning objective relates to a topic/lesson while success criteria relate to an activity – spell out the steps needed to achieve the learning objective
- The same learning objective can have different success criteria in different grades. e.g. success criteria for the objective of drawing parts of the body will be simple (such as, head, arms, legs) for Grade 1 but detailed (such as in Question 3) for Grade 4
Why share learning objectives with students?
Informing pupils about what they are going to learn and why they should learn it gives pupils the tools they need to take more responsibility for their own learning and achieve learning independence. Practice shows that pupils who regularly receive this information in the classroom are:
- more focused for longer periods of time;
- more motivated;
- more involved in their learning; and
- better able to take responsibility for their own learning.
This step also immediately and actively involves pupils with their own learning, even before the activity or lesson has begun, and it offers opportunities for key interactions between you and your pupils." (AfL Guidance (2007) KS 1-2, Pg 8)
So, if pupils know what the goals are, they can be more active and proactive in reaching them.
The audio clip features teachers discussing about 'feeling uncomfortable' when sharing learning objectives with their students. Whilst we acknowledge that sharing learning objectives with your students is not standard practice in [Z][K] there are very good reasons for doing so. Students being aware of what they are expected to learn in a lesson is a step along the way towards them developing their understanding of what is involved in being successful. By students taking greater responsibility for their learning, they are improving their metacognition and this has been shown by numerous researchers to have a high level of impact on attainment, especially for students working at a slower pace. The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) has put together a toolkit currently covering 30 topics, each summarised in terms of their average impact on attainment, the strength of the evidence supporting them and their cost. You will see from this that strategies that improve student's metacognition are highly effective at improving attainment for very little cost. Ensure that participants have grasped this vital piece of information. http://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/toolkit/approaches/into
Observing, thinking, reflecting (5 min): Listening to some Zambian teachers reflecting on how they felt about sharing learning objectives with their students. We now listen to a clip that was recorded during an interview with a group of Zambian teachers that have been though the OER4 Schools professional development programme already. They have been asked by the interviewer if there are any new practices that they have learned through the programme they felt that they may not continue with in their own practice.
Teachers interview - learning objectives:
- What do you think about the point of view expressed in the audio clip?
- Do you think you will feel the same or different when you introduce learning objectives and success criteria to your students?
- How does the research evidence in favour of sharing learning objectives impact on how you feel about this?
- Can you think of any other pros or cons for using these two AfL strategies?
- What could you say to an education minister who visited your class and challenged you about your use of learning objectives and success criteria?
5 Forming Learning Objectives and Success Criteria
Remind the participants that one of the learning objectives for today’s session is to form learning objectives and success criteria. Also draw to their attention the use of learning objectives and success criteria at the beginning of each session throughout the programme.
Display the following on the board or a flip chart sheet and read it aloud:
Your success criteria for forming learning objectives are:
- focus on learning
- one key aspect from knowledge, understanding or skill (understanding and skill preferred)
- simple child-friendly language
Your success criteria for forming success criteria are:
- specific to the activity for achieving learning objective
- detailed information about your expectation of students
- simple child-friendly language
Same-task group work (10 min) in pairs. Read Question 2 and Question 3 displayed on the flip charts again. With a same grade buddy, think of a topic that you will be teaching this week. Form the learning objectives and success criteria for this topic. Write them on the board or flip chart so that everybody will be able to see them. Your facilitator has already displayed the success criteria for this activity. Think about differentiation – how can all pupils achieve the learning intention to some degree?
- assess the learning objective and success criteria in view of the success criteria mentioned above
- comment positively about criteria that are met
- make suggestions for addressing any criteria that are not yet met
6 Activities for AfL
In the previous units you have done some activities that can be used for AfL with some adaptation. Today we will revisit these activities in the context of AfL.
If there is time, form three groups. Ask each group to read one activity and do a role play of carrying out the activity in the class. Role play can be done by one participant acting as a teacher and other participants acting as students. Some acting students demonstrate right answers, some demonstrate wrong answers, and some demonstrate partial understanding. The acting teacher demonstrates handling of all these answers.
Alternatively, different groups can explain the activities with more examples.
- Magic microphone(a) (Unit 2 Session 1) - Ask an open question about a topic, for example “How many ways can you think of to make 23?”. Pass around a prop. Whoever has the prop will give one answer to the question. Allow students to use mini-blackboards to work out their answers. If many students give right answers, increase the challenge by changing to a 3-digit number. If many students give the wrong answer, revise the topic again in class.
- Concept Mapping(a) (Unit 2 Session 4) - Write the main topic for which aspects have already been covered over a period of time in different lessons, on a concept mapping software or black board. Ask students to review all that they have learned about the topic and report them as answers. Record answers but do not correct wrong answers at this time. Review all answers in the end by asking students for opinion about each answer - if they are right; wrong; and how they can be improved. Avoid naming any student who said the wrong answers. For topics for which many students think positively about the wrong answer, revise them again in class. e.g. for the topic ‘mammals’ if many students think that man is not a mammal, revise the topic.
- Talking Points(a) (Unit 3 Session 5) - Frame some right, some wrong and some unsure statements about a topic. Try to include topics for which your students have struggled during teaching. Discuss each sentence as a whole class activity. Try the ‘No hands up(a)’ strategy; this supports AfL because it allows you to assess understanding of any learners that you think may not understand or may not be following. If shy pupils do not participate, use this or other non-voluntary participation strategies (Unit 2 Session 3) to select students for answering. You will come to know about common misconceptions through this activity so that you can address them.
- Which activity(ies) do you think you would like to try this week? Why?
- Do you foresee any problems in carrying out these activities based on your previous experience of doing them? Discuss solutions with your peers.
7 ICT practice: Different-tasks group work with ICT and activity planning
Different-tasks group work (20 min) on becoming an expert. As we discussed in the ICT practice in the first session of this unit, you now have an opportunity to deepen your skills in your chosen application. Divide into the same pairs as last time and continue developing the skills in your chose application. What is the idea that you are developing? In the last session of this Unit, you will be able to present what you have developed, so make notes, and work towards a particular item, such as a spreadsheet, a GeoGebra file etc.
8 Connecting with overarching goals of the programme
Open space (10 min). It's now time for the "open space", that gives you an opportunity to discuss issues that have arisen, and to relate those to the broader context of the programme. Do not just gloss over this section, but make time to raise issues, and probe the progress that you are making. You could use this space to:
- Remind yourselves of the of the Most Significant Change Technique, and e.g. collect more of your stories.
- Discuss your assessment portfolios: Is there anything that you are unsure about? Is it going well? What could be done better?
- Check on the work with the classroom assistants: Is this going well? Are there any tensions? Any observations or tips you can share?
- Reviewing individual ICT practise (such as typing practise).
- If you are preparing a presentation for other teachers, you could work on the presentation (about what you have been learning, stories emerging from MSC).
- Remind those who are doing audio diaries, to upload them.
- You could discuss any other issues that have arisen.
You will find notes and summaries of various techniques and concepts on our reference page, and you might want to refer to those for clarification during this activity if needed.
9 Follow-up activities
Part A: Update the electronic version of “my assessment inventory”. Open your file from your ‘files area’ on your desktop. Fill it in and save it again. Remember to bring the paper inventory to every session and make an entry in the electronic inventory every week.
Part B: Share with your class the learning objective and success criteria that you have formed in the session today. Consider using W A L T and W I L F to help your students get to grips with what is meant by learning objectives and success criteria. Record your experiences on the dictaphone and upload onto the server.
Part C: Form learning objectives and success criteria for as many lessons as you can during this week. Refer to verbs in the Bloom’s Taxonomy mentioned in the VVOB handout ‘Questioning the questions’ (pages 3 to 6) for this. Make a note of your learning objectives and success criteria for discussion in the next session.
Part D: Try out one or more of the adapted activities for AfL that we discussed today in Activity 6. Record your experiences on the dictaphone and upload onto the server.
Part E: Optional reading activity (if you want to go into the material covered in greater depth). As there is a lot of material to cover we have suggested a way of doing so to reduce the burden for each individual.
Divide yourself into two groups (for practical reasons, choose members of these groups who can work together outside the workshop session if possible).
The group tasks are:
- Group One: Read pages 8 to 11 about Learning Intentions from the “AfL Guidance (2007) for KS 1-2” .pdf document ((info)). You can skip sections 'Defining the learning' and 'what makes a good learning intention' as these have been covered in the session. Read everything else.
- Group Two: Read pages 12 to 14 about success criteria from the “AfL Guidance (2007) for KS 1-2” .pdf document ((info)).
- Both groups: Identify points (from your group's pages) that are new (i.e. have not been discussed during the session). Record a few notes about these points for the benefit of the other group members and bring these to the next session. You could also email them to the OER4schools Google group mailing list.
- Note: We recommend that you read all pages 1 to 14 from the document as background reading for AfL and the two strategies discussed in this session.
In the next session, these follow-up activities will be reviewed. If you are using this session on its own, you can have a look at the review of follow-up activities here.
Some parts of this session have been adapted or reproduced from: CCEA: Afl Guidance KS 1-2 – 2007, with the kind permission of the Northern Ireland Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment.
Thanks once again to Sue Swaffield (University of Cambridge) for the ideas we drew on in this session.
At the end of each session, we provide an overview of the activities in this session, together with their suggested timings. Although this appears at the end of the session (for technical reasons), you should keep an eye on this throughout the session, to make sure that you are pacing the workshop session appropriately!
Total time: 120 (min)
Activities in this session:
- Whole group discussion(15 min).
- Individual activity (5 min): Updating the assessment inventory
- Individual activity (10 min): Answering questions.
- Same-task group work (5 min) in pairs: Peer assessment.
- Whole class dialogue (5 min): Whole Group discussion.
- Whole class dialogue (5 min): on the similarities and differences between learning objectives and success criteria.
- Observing, thinking, reflecting (5 min): Listening to some Zambian teachers reflecting on how they felt about sharing learning objectives with their students.
- Whole class dialogue (5 min): on the pros and cons of sharing learning objectives and success criteria with your students.
- Same-task group work (10 min) in pairs.
- Whole class dialogue (10 min): Whole Group discussion
- Whole class dialogue (10 min): Whole group discussion.
- Different-tasks group work (20 min) on becoming an expert.
- Open space(10 min).
- Agreeing follow-up activities(5 min).
If you have printed this session for offline use, you may also need to download the following assets: