What does great Backwards Planning of lessons really look like? At EdLight, it’s getting to the level of: what do I want to see in student work that will show me students mastered the objective?
Chunking learning objectives into Criteria for Success is an under-utilized way to guide students and their teachers to mastery.
When you clarify what the Criteria for Success are for students, then you can finally give high-leverage feedback and students start to internalize the learning.
Let’s take a look at a the 5th grade Evidence standard:
RI.5.1: Quote or paraphrase a text accurately when explaining what the text states explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
Too often, we see teachers throw this lesson objective up on the (digital) board:
Quote or paraphrase a text accurately when explaining what the text states explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
This is...not a lesson objective…. it’s the standard. You can’t master a standard in a lesson. How are students supposed to know what they are trying to achieve?
Instead, let’s break the objective down into these 4 criteria for success:
Putting myself in a student’s shoes, this is soooo much easier to understand. I now have direction.
As a teacher, using Criteria for Success tees me up to give targeted feedback. I can give feedback faster because reviewing each student’s work takes less cognitive energy: I know what I am looking for and how I will respond if I don’t see it.
Criteria for Success are even more powerful when an entire team of teachers and coaches norms on them -- a best practice we see top-tier schools making time for -- so they can review student work together to better understand what grade level mastery looks like in day-to-day, authentic work.
Are you interested in learning more about how to implement this in your school or classroom? Let us know!
1 Hattie, J. (2012). Visible learning for teachers: Maximizing impact on learning. New York: Routledge.
2 Fisher, D., & Frey, N. (2011). The purposeful classroom: How to structure lessons with learning goals in mind. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.