As part of our department TAI I have experimented with getting my year 12 class to write their own Learning Intentions and Success Criteria. My aim was to see if it helped to improve results. They were completing the Close Viewing standard and their work was very much self directed. The following is a diary of how it progressed.
Today in period 4 I asked the class to write their Learning Intentions and Success Criteria for the period. The learning intentions had to be based on gathering, processing and applying. I explained what this would look like before they started. During the lesson I asked some students if they found this useful and they replied that it helped them to focus on what to do for the period. They also liked writing their own learning intentions compared to being told what to do because they knew what they needed to work on and they also liked the choice.
About half way through the period I warned the class that I would be coming to check on their progress in 5 minutes. Most of the class had made progress but a few were still unfocussed.
At the end of the period I asked for a show of hands to see who thought they had achieved their Success Criteria. Less than half the class put their hands up. We probably need to get into the habit of writing these so that everyone achieves their Success Criteria.
Today I have designed a SMART goal format for students to write their LIs and SC. I did this because when I ask students what their goal for the period is they tell me they are going to complete a huge amount of work that I can see will be unachievable. This is probably why many did not achieve their Success Criteria when I asked for a show of hands in the last lesson. Hopefully this will guide them to making more realistic goals.
At the start of the period students wrote their goals using the SMART goal format but some seemed to have trouble actually writing so I asked them the questions orally. This was a faster, more effective way of doing this. Those that wrote seemed to labour over it a bit and took much more time than I would have liked. I think that I will give them a time limit next time.
At the end of the lesson I asked for a show of hands to see who thought that they had achieved their goals for the period and more than half the class put their hands up. I believe that this was because the goals were more specific.
I’m now just wondering whether I should modify the SMART template further by adding the levels of thinking…
I created a template which includes the levels of thinking but, after trialling it, realised that it is way too detailed! I ended up asking students orally so that they didn’t spend so long on it.
I trialled a simpler sketchnotey version which I had fun creating! Students didn’t spend so much time writing their goals for the period so this was helpful.
I asked the class whether they found it too busy to look at and most said they did not. They seemed to like it.
Here’s the latest creation! I’m planning on projecting this each lesson.
The class have been using the above guidelines for a week or so now and we are at the end of the unit of work. I have created a Google Form to get some feedback on the use of LI’s & SC, especially opinions on whether writing their own ones was useful and why. I’ll get them to complete this in the next lesson.
25 students have completed my survey, here are the results.
Q1 What is your opinion of having a Learning Intention and Success Criteria each lesson?
Most students sat on the fence on this question and ticked the middle box which doesn’t help me at all!
Q2 Do you prefer to write your own Learning Intention?
Again half of the respondents sat on the fence…maybe I offered too many choices and should of made it a yes or no question.
Q3 In your opinion, what are the benefits of writing your own Learning Intention?
Most people said that they had a goal for the lesson and it helped them to focus. They also liked having a choice about what to work on, they were able to finish tasks from the previous period and not feel rushed into doing a new one.
Q4 In your opinion, what are the benefits of a teacher directed Learning Intention?
Most said that you know exactly what you should be doing and what the teacher wants. Some said that you don’t waste time writing your own and that because it was on the board you could refer to it during the lesson.
Q5 Does the Success Criteria help you to understand what you need to do in the lesson?
Only 3 people said that the success criteria didn’t help them and the rest of the class had varying degrees of helpfulness.
Q6 Did you find it helpful to link the Learning Intention to a level of thinking?
Most sat in the middle for this question which suggests that more could be done to help students understand how to do this.
Evaluation of Survey
On the surface it seemed that students didn’t seem to mind whether they had Learning Intentions and Success Criteria or not but when asked what the benefits were, they could list several. Therefore it is a useful exercise in helping students focus and know exactly what they need to do each lesson.
The next step is to see how their results are affected.
Results compared with last year (2014)
In 2014, I had a class of 16 in which 9 did not achieve, 6 Achieved and 1 got Merit.
This year I have a class of 19 in which 3 did not submit, 6 did not achieve, 9 Achieved and 1 got Merit.
My results have improved slightly as a result of my students writing their own Learning Intentions and Success Criteria so this is a worthwhile activity. I think that taking ownership of your own learning and making goals to succeed is always helpful. Reflecting on whether you have achieved your goals can help to maintain focus and also to plan for the following lesson.
When I initially compared the results I thought that there was no difference and felt disheartened but now that I have taken a closer look at them I feel inspired to carry on with this practice. Now I want to aim for more Merits. Onwards and upwards!