Student Achievement Opinion

Co-Construct Success Criteria For Optimal Student Buy-in

By Starr Sackstein — October 25, 2016 1 min read
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A teacher sits alone pondering the make-up of his/her class and after much consideration determines the best course of action to get students to show what they know.

Only, despite the effort that undoubtedly went into preparing this assessment and the success criteria that will judge it, the teacher left out the most important voice: the students.

How can we get students to show us what they know and have them buy into the learning while they do it?

Why not have them co-construct the success criteria when front loading the elements of the project or assignment that is upcoming.

Today in class, students reviewed what the end of unit project will be. It’s a speech. First we read together as a class and they annotated what the project was asking them to do. Questions were fielded and then they were asked with a partner to explore the rubric for showing mastery.

They needed to consider the following:

  • What do they need to be successful on this assignment?
  • Where will the information be coming from?
  • Does the current criteria suit the needs of our class?
  • Should anything be added or subtracted from the rubric and why?

After they worked in pairs to make these determinations, we developed a list together that was in their words, not the teacher’s. We also discussed how we would be able to tell if students met these criteria and potentially some strategies for success.

When planning a unit, it’s important to share the end expectation with students, so they know what they are working on and have a good idea why they are doing the work they are doing. How does it connect to their lives and other learning throughout the day? Being transparent and demystifying this information is essential to their ability to be successful.

It’s probably sounds intuitive on some level, but not all folks realize that even just including students in this process can help them take ownership of the work. Remember to keep them focused and reference how they helped to develop different aspects of what they will be learning throughout the unit.

We must continue to offer students opportunity to take ownership of their learning or they will never learn how to do so. The more we insist on their involvement, the more they will have to get involved.

How do you allow students to put their stamp on the learning that happens in your shared spaces? Please share

The opinions expressed in Work in Progress are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.