Learning Goals and Success Criteria

How many goals do we set as adults on a regular basis?  Whether it’s the “honey do” list that we create for our spouses in order to get projects completed around the house or the weight loss goal that we set for ourselves, we are constantly setting goals and determining what we need to do to meet that goal. If the goal is to build a deck, then we break down the list of steps that we need to take in order to meet the goal ~ design the deck, purchase the materials, build the platform, add the railings etc.  


As we continue to expand our understanding about how best to meet the needs of our students, we find ourselves exploring the research of Stiggins, Chappuis and others. They share that “learning is easier when learners understand what goal they are trying to achieve, the purpose of achieving the goal, and the specific attributes of success”  To that end, we are now working with teachers and having them develop and share Learning Goals for their units of study.  The Learning Goals are based on the Ontario Curriculum expectations, but written in student friendly language.   The success criteria (the “what” we need to meet the goal) break down the learning goal into meaningful, attainable aspects of student performance. They are in essence the “look-fors” that teachers can use in order to provide feedback for the student and ultimately a final assessment.


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For example, if the Learning Goal was: To be able to relate units of time, the success criteria may include: name units of time, use them in a sentence, understand what each unit of time means, order times from shortest to longest.


In order to support your children in their success at school, ask them the following question, “What was your learning goal in Language/Math today?”   Then see if they can articulate what they need to do in order to meet that goal.


Back to my “honey-do” list….


Goal: Prepare a Thanksgiving Meal.

Success Criteria: Complete the grocery shopping, make the stuffing, prepare the bird, boil the potatoes, make the gravy, etc. etc.   


I wonder how my in-laws will evaluate the final product?