Ellis Kerr

Primary Teacher

St. Timothy's Primary

  • Assessment For Learning

What Happens When Children Set the Success Criteria?


Learning intentions and success criteria allow learners to see what success looks like. The success
criteria must be transparent to learners and is understood and used most effectively by learners when they have been involved in its construction (Clarke, 2019).

I decided to focus my practitioner enquiry on children setting their own success criteria to help encourage the children in my class to become more active in their learning and improve confidence. Through this process pupils will in turn be able to begin to take responsibility for their own learning. This is supported by the work of Black and Wiliams (1998) who suggested rethinking how young learners are assessed to make it a process which supports and reflects learning. By implementing this teaching approach into the classroom I hope to improve my pupils’ confidence in their work as well as enhance their ability to self-assess their own work accurately.

Assessment for learning tools can be used to find the learner’s current position, move the learner on towards his/her next step (ZPD) (Wood & Wood, 1996). , act as checks on the journey to reaching the next step, and to discover if the next steps have been reached (Wood & Wood, 1996).


The aim of the enquiry was to investigate what happens when children set their own success criteria.

In order to ensure relevance throughout my enquiry it was essential for me to create a hypothesis and range of research questions prior to carrying out an investigation (Elton- Chalcroft et al 2008). The overall aim for my enquiry is to determine the accuracy of my devised hypothesis:

“Children setting their own success criteria will have a positive impact on pupil confidence and self-assessment”.

In order to investigate this hypothesis, I have composed two research questions to focus my research around. The main questions I will consider are:

  1. What impact does children setting their own success criteria have on the class confidence?
  2. What evidence can I gather to highlight the impact children setting their own success criteria on self-assessment?
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