Unit 4 - Assessment for learning and lesson pacing

Session 4.2 - Learning objectives and success criteria (participants version)

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Learning intentions and objectives.
In this session you will learn about:

  • using an assessment inventory as a self-assessment measure
  • two AfL strategies that improve students metacognition and lead to better learning: sharing learning objectives and sharing success criteria
  • writing/forming learning objectives and success criteria
  • activities covered in previous sessions that can be adapted for AfL e.g. magic microphone, concept mapping, talking points

Success criteria.
To meet the learning intentions you will:

  • keep a record of the assessment methods that you have used on your assessment inventory
  • listen to some Zambian teachers' experience of sharing learning objectives and think about the pros and cons of doing so
  • understand the need for sharing learning objectives and sharing success criteria by completing an activity to illustrate this
  • plan to write learning objectives and success criteria
  • revisit activities covered in previous sessions and think about ways of adapting them for use with AfL

ICT components.
In this session you will continue consolidating the ICT skills you have learnt so far, and apply them in the classroom. You will be able to apply AfL techniques in conjunction with ICT classroom use as well.

1 Review of follow-up activities from last session

Activity icon.png Whole group discussion (15 min).

  • Did you update the word document My assessment inventory.doc (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

Activity icon.png Individual activity (5 min): Updating the assessment inventory Update the assessment inventory My assessment inventory.doc (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).

Activity icon.png 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.

Activity icon.png 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.

Activity icon.png Whole class dialogue (5 min): Whole Group discussion. Discuss:

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?

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)


Assessment for Learning: sharing learning objectives and outcomes 1

Assessment for Learning: sharing learning objectives and outcomes 1

Video/Pedpack2-12.m4v, http://oer.educ.cam.ac.uk/wiki/Video/Pedpack2-12.m4v,This video is available on your memory stick in the video/Pedpack2 folder.About this video. Duration: 03:25 (watch on YouTube, local play / download options / download from dropbox) This resource is part of the DfES resource Pedagogy and practice.(Series: Pedpack2, episode 14)

Activity icon.png Whole class dialogue (5 min): on the similarities and differences between learning objectives and success criteria. Read Question 2 and Question 3 displayed on the board or flip chart again. Discuss:

  • What are the similarities between Learning Objectives and Success Criteria for AfL?
  • What are the differences between Learning Objectives and Success Criteria for AfL?

Why share learning objectives with students?

Agness fun maths2.jpeg

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.

Activity icon.png 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.

“I should just know those objectives as a teacher, but not necessarily telling them to say "today we are going to achieve these objectives".”

Teachers interview - learning objectives:


Teachers interview - learning objectives

The audio clip features teachers discussing about 'feeling uncomfortable' when sharing learning objectives with their students.

Teachers interview - learning objectives.mp3, 1:23,(Series: OER4Schools audio, episode N/A)

'Transcript: I think personally I would not continue the, telling the kids about brainstorming, this is brainstorming, yeah I wasn't comfortable with that, even telling them the objectives that I'm going to, yeah, I will still stick to what I was taught. I should just know those objectives as a teacher, but not necessarily telling them to say "today we are going to achieve these objectives" ah ah, even the ones where what we are doing now is brainstorming, personally I wasn't comfortable with that! I don't know, maybe, I wasn't comfortable.

Different speaker: I think, to come in on that, even the inspectors if they have come, cos this is not taught in Zambian content. I think you can be questioned that "why are you saying that now it's time for brainstorming?" "It's time for objective, I'll tell you my objective". I think they can question you, "where have you learned this? which lecturer, which college?". You know, they do talk! So I think, the way she has said, even me I was not comfortable, I wasn't. It's better just to come in, ask a question, for you, you know that on your lesson plan you have written "brainstorming". What type of brainstorming? I'll ask you this question. Or I'll tell them to do this. That way, you will be able to know that I have achieved my brainstorm.

And then maybe when it comes to the objective, you are as the teacher, you know what you are going to teach in that lesson, because when preparing your lesson you know maybe you have put two objectives or even one, if you have seen one it's enough, you just put that objective, not to reaching an extent of telling the learners "my objective today it’s this and this and this" ah I don't think so, we have gone to two colleges, we have never been taught about that, yes.

Activity icon.png Whole class dialogue (5 min): on the pros and cons of sharing learning objectives and success criteria with your students.

  • 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

Background reading

Points to remember for forming learning objectives:

  • Learning objectives relate to what students are expected to: know, understand and do (knowledge, understanding and skills). (You can also refer to verbs in the Bloom’s Taxonomy mentioned in the VVOB handout for this.)
    • Knowledge or factual information: e.g. (1) we are learning about ‘learning objectives and success criteria’ for AfL, and (2) we are learning names of Zambian provinces and their capitals.[Z]we are learning names of Kenyan counties and their capitals.[K]
    • Understanding such as concepts, reasons and processes: e.g. (1) we are learning about the relationship between learning objectives and success criteria, and (2) we are learning reasons for pollution in Zambia[Z]Kenya[K].
    • Skills or abilities acquired through training or experience. e.g. (1) we are learning to form learning objectives and success criteria for AfL, and (2) we are learning to draw bar graphs from raw data.
  • Learning objectives specify learning. They do not specify the activity.
  • It is good to have generic learning objectives that can be transferred across the curriculum, e.g. (1) we are learning to download pictures from flickr, (2) we are learning to work effectively in groups, (3) we are learning to use evidence to support an opinion, and (4) we are learning to interpret data.
  • Learning objectives should be in simple language that students can easily understand.
  • Learning objectives should be broad enough to allow pupils of all capabilities to achieve them; “the differentiation is in the way the pupils achieve or demonstrate the intention, not by creating different learning intentions for pupils of different abilities.” (AfL Guidance (2007) KS 1-2, Pg 10). So you might expect some pupils to achieve more but they will all share the same learning objective and success criteria.

Note: You might want to record the learning objective on the blackboard at the beginning of a lesson or you may already be doing this.

Points to remember for forming success criteria:

  • Success criteria relate to the specific activity
  • Success criteria focus on specific teaching points or processes, e.g. in Question 3 above, the success criteria focus on including particular parts of the body (teaching points)
  • Success criteria should also have simple child-friendly language

Activity icon.png 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?

Activity icon.png Whole class dialogue (10 min): Whole Group discussion Display your planned activity and read out your learning objective and success criteria to all other participants. Other participants should:

  • 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.

  • 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.

Activity icon.png Whole class dialogue (10 min): Whole group discussion. Discuss:

  • 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

Activity icon.png 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

Activity icon.png 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

Activity icon.png Agreeing follow-up activities (5 min).

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 (AfL-Guidance_KS_1-2-2007-pages_1_to_14.pdf (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 (AfL-Guidance_KS_1-2-2007-pages_1_to_14.pdf (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.

10 Acknowledgements

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.