One of the most challenging parts of using learning walls, for me, is co-constructing success criteria.

I used to plan my wall thoroughly, and even wrote the success criteria for my wall. This worked well until I realised that my students were demonstrating skills that should have been on my learning wall, but weren’t, because I had given students no input into the  creation of the success criteria. None at all!

I avoided it because I had never seen co-construction of success criteria modelled by another teacher, and I wasn’t sure that I would be able to lead my students to the success criteria I wanted them to find (another mistake).

Unfortunately, the day I noticed a glowing omission from our wall, very evidently demonstrated by one of my students in their writing, I knew that I had to bite the bullet and co-construct the success criteria – not only giving my students ownership of them, but ensuring that I wasn’t limiting my students.

I chose to co-construct all of the success criteria in one lesson, because we were already a few weeks into our unit, but you could choose to do this for just one section of your text/concept, or choose to co-construct one success criteria at a time (eg when teaching verb groups).

I was a bit worried how this lesson would work, but it was a fantastic foundation for my students, and still I use the same process now. I hope that you will find the following sequence useful!

Teaching Sequence for Co-Construction Success Criteria – Narrative example

You will need:

  • Learning Intention
  • A-level sample (previous student work/teacher written or sourced) Pre-qualify the sample to make sure it includes elements required.
  • Cards to write I Can success criteria statements on
  • Learning Wall with marking guide/rubric

Teaching Sequence

  1. Revisit learning intention and marking guide
  2. Brainstorm as a whole class, What makes a good narrative? If your marking guide is organised into headings such as Language features, Structure, Punctuation etc, organise students’ brainstormed ideas into these headings. Use colour-coding if you are going to continue to use it throughout the unit.
  3. Provide students with an A-level narrative sample. What makes THIS a good narrative? Students should read through, highlighting different elements that make it a good narrative. They can write notes and use highlighters/colour coding. 
  4. Place students into groups to discuss the narrative and to write ‘I Can’ success criteria statements on cards.
  5. As a whole class, read through each I Can statement and ‘think aloud’ with your students – carefully select the most precise I Can statements and sort under the headings used previously. If students have missed any success criteria, teacher should ask leading questions.
  6. Organise the selected I Can success criteria statements on Learning Wall. Organise under headings and colour-code. Use string or ribbon to connect success criteria statements to marking guide and to examples on the Learning Wall.

There you have it! My teaching sequence for co-constructing success criteria with your students. You could also do this for just one element (introduction, climax) noting all Success criteria used; or you could introduce one at a time (e.g during a lesson on capital letters for proper nouns).

how to co-construct success criteria

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