How to Write Success Criteria

A step-by-step guide to writing success criteria

Writing success criteria can be a challenging task, especially for teachers who are new to the process. However, by following a few simple steps, you can create clear and effective success criteria that will help your students understand what is expected of them, and guide their learning.

1) Determine your Learning Intention

To write Success Criteria, you first need to know what learning will be taking place in your lesson/s. Your Learning Intention will outline what knowledge or skills you will be  teaching your students to understand or demonstrate.

2) Identify prior learning needed for gaining that new knowledge or skills

What is the underpinning knowledge that students will need to be successful? Do they need to know their times up to 12x12 off by heart? Do they need to know the 3 main types of rocks? Do they need to know how to perform an overarm throw? We have to know our starting point before we can spring off onwards and upwards.

3) Identify the new knowledge students will learn (if applicable)

Make a list of new knowledge you’re teaching your students. If anything is quite similar, you might like to combine these into one Success Criteria statement. This list does NOT have to look pretty.

For converting between mixed numbers and improper fractions, your list might look like:

  • Mixed number = whole number & proper fraction

  • Improper fraction = numerator is greater than or equal to denominator 

  • Can write whole number as fraction with denominator of 1

  • Times tables to 12x12 memorised

4) Make it actionable

Now, turn these into actions by adding ‘I can’ + one of these knowledge verbs: define, state, recall, name, recognise, list, label, count, write... (see more here). 

  • I can define a mixed number

  • I can recognise an improper fraction

  • I can record a whole number as a fraction with a denominator of 1

  • I can recall all times tables up to 12x12 instantly

BOOM! How simple was that?

5) Repeat the process

List the new skills/understandings/processes students will need to be able to demonstrate but this time, use the understanding/ application/ analysis/ evaluation/ creation verbs you can find here

For our Maths scenario, we want students to be able to make a common denominator so they can add fractions together. 

We want students to apply a skill so we use an application verb e.g. demonstrate, perform, select, use, solve, apply, predict, practise (see list)...or subject-specific verbs such as add, subtract, multiply, or calculate. 

  • I can use multiplication to make an equivalent fraction with a common denominator

  • I can add the numerators together


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