AfL: Learning Intentions and Success Criteria Pulje 3 Oslo, 23 April

AfL: Learning Intentions and Success
Pulje 4 Oslo, 19 March 2013
Gordon Stobart
Emeritus Professor of Education
Institute of Education, University of
[email protected]
The importance of being clear about what and
why we are learning
• The need to ‘make sense’ and ‘make meaning’
– It’s not that I haven’t learned much. It’s just that I
don’t understand what I’m doing’ (15 yr old)
– Sir treats us like we’re babies, puts us down, makes us
copy stuff off the board, puts up all the answers like
we don’t know anything. And we’re not going to learn
from that, ‘cause we’ve got to think for ourselves.
(low achieving student)
– We knew how to do it. But we didn’t know why we
were doing it and we didn’t know how we got around
to doing it.....I can get the answer, I just don’t
understand why .
(maths student)
(source: Jo Boaler)
Learning Intentions:
The Education Mirror 2012
...the teacher must:
• present clear academic goals,
• give the pupils challenges and have expectations that
they shall achieve the goals and meet the challenges;
• ensure there are flexible transitions between
different activities and between new and old
• Be able to see the individual pupil and the class
group simultaneously
Expert teachers
Set challenging goals – more ‘thinking work’;
Have more integrated knowledge and can link new
subject knowledge to students’ prior knowledge and
current lesson to other ones;
Can detect and use information that has most
relevance and offer a wider range of strategies that
students might use;
Adapt lessons (change, combine, add) according to
students needs;
Monitor learning and provide feedback;
Check whether their teaching is working , look for any
negative evidence.
(John Hattie)
The three major messages for teachers
John Hattie’s Visible Learning
• the more transparent the teacher makes the
learning goals, then the more likely the
student is to engage in the work needed to
meet the goal.
Success criteria
• the more the student is aware of the criteria
of success, then the more the student can
see the specific actions that are needed to
attain these criteria
• the more there is feedback about progress
from prior to desired outcomes the more
positive attributes to learning are developed
Assessment for Learning
Assessment for Learning is the process of
seeking and interpreting evidence for use by learners and
their teachers
to decide where the learners are in their learning,
where they need to go and
how best to get there.
Assessment Reform Group (2002)
Quality AfL keeps learning principles central – the spirit –
‘high organisation based on ideas’ in contrast to the letter
when practices are used without understanding.
An alternative classification: routine vs adaptive expertise
Knowing what to do next : the hard part of
formative assessment? (Margaret Heritage 2011)
Her research found that teachers:
• Can generally identify the principles that assessments
• Are able to identify what students do and do not know
• Have most difficulty knowing what to do next in their
This may be the result of not having a clear idea of
learning progression and the tasks, activities, interactions
and tools that would encourage progression
Knowing where learners need to go
The importance of Pedagogical Content
‘Pedagogical content knowledge ... represents the
blending of content and pedagogy into an
understanding of how particular topics, problems, or
issues are organized, represented, and adapted to the
diverse interests and abilities of learners, and
presented for instruction’ (Schulman)
Without PCK we will have problems with dealing with,
for example, rich questions, misunderstandings,
learning intentions, success criteria and feedback.
Where learners need to go: Learning intentions
• High expectations are the key to improving learning
• The teacher is clear about what is being learned
(progression in learning)
• What we will be learning rather than what we will be
• The importance of ‘tuning in’ (building on ‘where
learners are in their learning’):
setting the scene (why we are learning this),
explaining the situation,
linking to what is known,
unfamiliar words & phrases explained
Separating the learning from the task
• We want the principle learned not just the specific
task (1/2 + 3/5)
• Allows differentiated learning – how far can learners
transfer their learning to other contexts (design an
• What would an assessment scheme look like? – task
versus generic (task in summative assessment more
general in formative assessment?)
(Dylan Wiliam)
Separating the learning from the task (2)
Doing this makes it easier to differentiate instruction
without creating a classroom in which different
students are working towards different goals.
All students are working towards the same learning
intention; the differentiation comes in the success
criteria – how far are students able to transfer their
All students should be able to transfer what they have
learned to very similar contexts while others can be
challenged by assessing how far they can transfer
what they have learned.
(Dylan Wiliam)
Tuning in
The procedure is actually quite simple. First you
arrange the items into different groups. Of course one
pile may be sufficient depending on how much there
is to do. If you have to go somewhere else due to lack
of facilities, that is the next step; otherwise you are
pretty well set. It is important not to overdo things.
That is, it is better to do too few things rather than too
many. In the short run this may not seem too
important but complications can easily arise. A
mistake can be expensive as well.
The Goldilocks’ Principle
The specification of learning intentions and success criteria
has to be:
•Not too general – ‘today we will learn about
fractions/the middle ages’
•Not too detailed – behaviourist micro-teaching:
“assessment as learning, where assessment procedures
may come completely to dominate the learning
experience and ‘criteria compliance’ come to replace
Torrance (2007)
•But just right – clarity of purpose, flexible, negotiated,
allows some choice and personal autonomy
Presenting learning intentions
Three possible ways
1. Layers of Learning intentions – Michael Absolum
2. The SOLO taxonomy – John Biggs
(see Youtube Teaching Teaching and Understanding
1. Clarifying learning intentions: product and process –
Shirley Clarke
How can we adapt these to the Norwegian classroom?
Layers of learning intentions
1. Big picture -‘essence’ - curriculum aim – ‘by engaging with
text-based activities become increasingly skilled speakers and
2. Curriculum– curriculum strand and level – ‘show a developing
understanding of how to shape (written) texts for different
audiences and purposes...’
3. Translation of aim– from prior assessment of students – ‘we
are learning to write an argument which is convincing’
4. Immediate learning –– ‘we are learning to sequence an
5. Specific learning – ‘we are learning what a paragraph is and
when to start a new one’
(based on M.Absolum)
Tuning in: Using dicussion about a TV soap
How could you introduce learning about adjectives?
Unhelpful and helpful learning intentions
• Unhelpful:
LI : we are learning to where to use capital letters and full stops.
SC: you will have capital letters and full stops in the right places,
for example at the beginning of sentences, names etc.
• More helpful:
LI : when we are communicating with others we want to
separate our ideas so they see each idea clearly – in little
SC: we will have capital letters and full stops in the right places:
for example beginning of sentences, names etc.
(so others can understand all of our ideas in our writing
Structure of the Observed Learning Outcomes
The SOLO Taxonomy and constructive alignment
The big idea: at what level is the student being asked to
respond and are the curriculum aims, learning demands
and assessment consistent with this?
The five levels at which information is organised
Pre-structural - naive or wrong understanding
Unistructural – one idea - verbs: name; identify
Multi-structural – several ideas/facts - verbs: combine;
Relational – linking and integrating information – verbs:
analyse; compare and contrast; explain causes
Extended Abstract – metacognition –reflecting on relational
understanding, generalising – verbs: create; reflect;
We say we’re working at one level, but do our verbs give us
(Using SOLO as a Framework for Teaching, p19)
Facts, ideas,
and context
Light travels in
straight lines
Speed of light
Be able to define the
terms light and
energy, and identify
some properties of
I can define the
terms light and
I can identify some
properties of light
SOLO level
Extended abstract
Light can be
into other forms
of energy
Light and its
importance to
medicine and
Know that light
can be
into other forms
of energy.
I can explain
how light is
into other types
of energy.
Be able to reflect on
the importance of
light in medicine and
I can reflect on the
importance of light in
medicine and
Confused & clarified learning intentions (S. Clarke)
Confused learning
Clarified learning Context of
(immediate learning)
To be able to write
instructions on how to
change a bicycle tyre
To be able to write
clear instructions
Changing a
bicycle tyre
To be able to present an
argument for or against
nuclear power
Nuclear power
To produce and analyse
a questionnaire about
TV viewing habits.
TV viewing
Product-focused versus process-focused criteria
Learning intention: to write an effective description of a
person (characterisation)
Product success criterion: the reader will feel as if they
know the person
Process success criteria: the characterisation includes at
least two of the following:
• the character’ hobbies and interests
• the character’s attitudes towards self and others
• examples of the characters personality
• examples of the character’s like and dislikes
(S. Clarke)
Negotiate some criteria for skiing
When Learning Intentions become a
When they:
• become routine/mechanical
• are introduced unimaginatively – eg timing
• are used managerially (to check on what
teacher is covering)
• become administrative/paperwork
Knowing where learners need to go: Success
criteria – understanding what is needed
What will a good performance look like?
Success criteria need:
- Negotiation: ‘what would you expect to see in a
successful piece of work?’
- Exemplars: ‘which of these two (or more) pieces of
work best meets the criteria?’
- Modelling – ‘Here’s what I mean...’
- Guided practice – activity > independent practice
Negotiating success criteria – a 4 step process
(Gregory, Cameron & Davies)
Sort and categorise
Make and post a chart
Add, revise, refine
For example, what counts in an oral presentation?
Look up and look at your audience
Have to be able to hear you
No fidgeting
Look interested
Use small cards for notes
Make it interesting by using pictures or diagrams
Use lots of expression
Slow down
Stand straight
Keep it short
Use specific examples to get your point across
Make sure you have a conclusion
We need to know what your topic is right away
Sort and categorise
Sorting into major criteria: S= speech and manner; I = interesting to
audience; E = easy to follow
S Look up and look at your audience
S Have to be able to hear you
S No fidgeting
I Look interested
E Use small cards for notes
I Make it interesting by using pictures or diagrams
S Use lots of expression
E Slow down
S Stand straight
I Keep it short
E Use specific examples to get your point across
E Make sure you have a conclusion
E We need to know what your topic is right away
Make and post a chart
Criteria for oral
Interesting to an Look interested
Make it interesting by using pictures or
Keep it short
Easy to follow
Use small cards for notes
Slow down
Use specific examples to get your point across
Make sure you have a conclusion
We need to know what your topic is right away
Speech and
Look up and look at your audience
manner help
Have to be able to hear you
the audience
No fidgeting
Use lots of expression
Stand straight
Learning outcomes –
The need for exemplars, modelling and negotiation to
‘make sense’
‘Students' writing in a range of forms is lively and
thoughtful. Ideas are often sustained and developed in
interesting ways and organised appropriately for the
purpose of the reader.’ (QCDA, 2010)
What Year is this for?
Learning outcomes – Competence aims
The need for exemplars, modelling and negotiation
to ‘make sense’
Written texts:
• Present personal response and perceptions in writing
based on interpretation and reflection
• Express himself or herself precisely with a varied
vocabulary with nuances in various texts in the firstchoice or second-choice Norwegian languages
• Assess his or her own texts and personal writing
development using knowledge of language and texts
What Year is this for?
Knowing where learners need to go: Success
criteria – practising what is needed
• Scaffolding
– Provide a first attempt for the students to show
what they know.
– Give informal feedback
– Have students identify the next step
– Provide an opportunity for a second attempt to
reach the goals, using the chosen next step.
(based on Clarke, Owens & Sutton)
(active, making sense, choice, practice, selfassessment)
‘Provides information which allows the learner to close the
gap between current and desired performance’
It is most effective when:
• It is effectively timed;
• It is clearly linked to the learning intention;
• The learner understands the success criteria/standard;
• It focuses on the task rather than the learner
• It gives cues at appropriate levels on how to bridge
the gap: the task (corrective)/process (eg error
detection)/ self-regulation loop;
• It offers strategies rather than solutions;
• It challenges, requires action, and is achievable.
Clear learning intentions and success criteria
We Are Learning To:
Create ‘mood-setting’ in writing through our descriptions.
(Task: Write an opening paragraph that describes a place in
a way that sets the mood for a story.)
How will we know we’ve done this?
We will be able to recognise the mood the writer was
creating (Product criterion)
What would the process criteria be for this?
The wind howled thrugh the stretes and the rain
bownced of the pavements. The few people who
were out huried head down from doorway to
doorway. All escept one man who, coatless and
upright carried a big wet bag.
Identify three achievements and one action point
(‘Medal and mission’)
Keeping our students active learners
Learning as active, meaning making process
Have in-depth discussions
Negotiate success criteria
Practise self- and peer- assessment
Encourage self-regulation