Lisa McGlade – Beeslack

Effective Learning Intentions
and Success Criteria
The Key Messages
This presentation is based on
the following assumptions:
Learning intentions and success criteria are not new
concepts and we will all have examples and ideas about
how and when we use learning intentions and success
There is, however, some understandable confusion about
what constitutes effective* learning intentions and success
We all appreciate that learning intentions and success
criteria are important for creating focused, purposeful
It is useful to know where we are getting things right and
where there is scope for improvement.
*effective in this sense means that the learning intentions
focus on learning rather than tasks and the success criteria
makes explicit what success looks or sounds like.
Why are we over-egging this? It is not
a difficult concept to grasp!
Hattie’s take on Learning
Intentions and Success Criteria
Key messages:
Learning intentions should be about
what learners are supposed to
learn, not what they should do. It’s
not about the task.
Effective learning intentions and
success criteria help us bridge the
gap between those who can do it
anyway and those who are
An example:
Mike: “Lisa, explain how a corrie is
Lisa: (panicking ever so slightly!): “It’s to so
with glaciers; as the ice slides down the hill,
it creates an armchair like hollow in the
rock. Is that what you’re looking for?”
Mike: “On a basic level, yes.”
Lisa: “What else do I need to mention?”
Mike: “Processes like abrasion and
 We
need to negotiate the
starting point for learning
with pupils.
 The
aim should also be to make
students self regulatory so
that they can write success
criteria as well as you can.
 Learning
is a process, not an end
goal. Where possible, we have to
be flexible about the speed of
that process.
 Pupils
must know exactly where
they are in their learning and
where they need to go next and
learning intentions and success
criteria are the firsts steps in this
The learning intention is the goal.
We are learning to:
‘We are learning to explain how the actions of the suffragettes led to
women getting the vote becomes’:
‘We are learning to explain the impact of the actions of a group of
individuals in history.’
Context: Women’s suffrage movement – the suffragettes.
The success criteria outlines the
strategies needed to achieve the LI goal
– the main things to do, include, focus
“Success criteria summarise the key steps
the students need in order to fulfil the
learning intention – the main things to do,
include or focus on.”
Shirley Clarke
Effective learning intentions:
Linked to the actual learning, not the
Not simply a description of the activity.
Often describe transferable skills.
Reflect the language of the experience and
outcome and the skills and knowledge
within it.
Focused, straightforward and easy to
Agreed in discussion with the learners.
Education Scotland
Effective Success Criteria
linked to the learning intention;
Avoids repetition of the learning intention.
specific to an activity;
Emphasise the process, rather than end product: knowing, thinking
or using skills.
Reflects the skills and knowledge that you will see the children and
young people employing.
discussed and agreed with pupils prior to undertaking the activity;
provides a scaffold and focus for pupils while engaged in the
activity; and
used as the basis for feedback and peer-/self-assessment.
Reflect the skills and knowledge that you will see the children and
young people employing.
Education Scotland
Where does all of this fit into the big picture?
Significant Aspects of Learning
Skills for life learning and work
Effective learning intentions
Effective success criteria
Target setting
Assessment capable learners
Visible learning in action!