Sharing success criteria

Success criteria communicate to students what it looks like to achieve the learning intention.

What is sharing success criteria?

Success criteria communicate to students what it looks like to achieve the learning intention.

Success criteria are aligned to the syllabus. They break the learning intention into smaller and more manageable actions. They show students what they must do, say, make, create or perform to demonstrate their learning (Griffin 2018).

They are shared using language students can understand. Success criteria can also be differentiated depending on the starting point of different students.

Success criteria form the basis for feedback, which may be from the teacher, peers, or self-reflection. They should be used by students to evaluate their own learning and progress towards achieving the learning intention.

Success criteria give students a framework to communicate with the teacher and their peers about their learning. This can help students identify and ask for help as needed.

Success criteria can be co-constructed with students. Teachers use their expertise to guide student thinking, and often model and use exemplars to show students what success 'looks like'.

What could it look like in the classroom?

  • An exemplar examined by students with teacher support to determine the features that make a quality response, ‘What a good one looks like’ or WAGOLL
  • Using sentence starters such as ‘What I am looking for’ or ‘I will know I am successful if’ can be useful for some students
  • The teacher uses the success criteria throughout the lesson. For instance, they form the basis of:
    • checking for understanding, where the teacher may ask questions relevant to the success criteria, supporting students to reflect their progress towards achieving the learning intention
    • feedback to students, both from the teacher and peers
    • self assessment as students use the success criteria to evaluate their own work.
  • Templates available through the Digital learning selector – LISC.

What it isn’t

  • Statements about how students should approach a task/activity. For example, staying focused for the whole lesson
  • Unconnected to the learning intention
  • Always co-constructed.

Further reading

  • Wiliam D (2011) Embedded Formative Assessment, Solution Tree Press, Bloomington.
  • Clarke S (2021) Unlocking Learning intensions and success criteria: Shifting from product to process across the disciplines, SAGE Publications Inc, USA.
  • NSW Department of Education (2022) Designing the Assessment.
  • AERO (Australian Education Research Organisation) (2022) Explain learning objectives.

Griffin P (2018) Assessment for teaching, Cambridge University Press.


  • Teaching and learning


  • Explicit teaching

Business Unit:

  • Curriculum and Reform
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