Co-constructing Success Criteria

Success criteria are indicators for assessment for a specific task. Students need to clearly understand what success looks like and what they need to do to achieve success. By co-constructing success criteria, students and teacher develop common understanding and language about what constitute success.

Why is co-construction of success criteria important? We want students to be autonomous, independent learners who can self monitor and self assess own work in relation to success criteria. In order to do this effectively, students need to thoroughly understand what the success criteria is and how it can be used to achieve success. Through the co-construction of success criteria, students are developing life long learning skills and contribute to positive student outcomes.

Steps in co-constructing success criteria:

1. Select skill to develop success criteria.

2. Identify the learning goal for the skill as linked to the overall expectations in the curriculum.

3. Develop task/prompt for skill.

4. Teacher develops exemplar for the task/prompt.

5. Share task/prompt with students.

6. Have students work in groups of 3 – 4.

7. Distribute [tippy title=”exemplar”]Sample of work that includes all the success criteria[/tippy] to each group and sticky notes.

8. Instruct each group to read through the exemplar and collectively determine what criteria they believe makes the exemplar a successful example of the completed task. Write each of these criteria on its own sticky note.

9. Teacher facilitates the sharing of the success criteria, by asking groups to share the criteria selected and determining commonalities across the class and negotiating which criteria will be included on the final success criteria.

10. Once success criteria has been determined, develop an anchor chart listing the success criteria for that skill for student reference.


Skill: Summarizing Learning Goal: to summarize what you have read to demonstrate understanding of a text.

Task/prompt: Summarize the text, The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

ALS matrixMatrix  ALStextpicture

Reading Selection

Task:  Summarize the reading selection The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

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Exemplar – ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

 ALS criteria


Success Criteria (as co-constructed)

  • key points identified
  • key points explained
  • written in your own words
  • shared in a logical sequence
  • not too wordy



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