Jordan Pryde

Physical Education

St. Maurice's High

  • Assessment For Learning

Modelling Success Criteria in the Classroom


A child’s ability to become a ‘creative thinker’ can be curbed by many factors which affect their ability to follow a creative success criteria in the classroom. Often pupils find obstacles in their minds which halt their ability to find new solutions to problems which they have never experienced. This is otherwise known as Cognitive Fixation. Cognitive Fixation is essentially a mental block in the production of novel ideas when problem solving, where someone is unable to think beyond what they have been exposed to in the past (Howard et al, 2013). Jansson and Smith (1991) found that individuals can become fixated on previous designs and solutions to problems which ultimately lead to a decline in their creative thinking.

As a practitioner, one must seek to develop the creativity of learners and promote the novel solutions to problems and try to adapt practise to allow for this. Within Physical Education and Skill Acquisition -a theoretical method to teach physical education- there has been research and evidence to promote problem solving and creativity through the construction of learning intentions (LI) and success criteria (SC). Skill Acquisition has advised of two methods in the way skills can be taught. These are a bottom-up approach and a top-down approach. Bottom up approach to teaching can complement creativity as it allows for procedural knowledge to develop in the first instance and then declarative knowledge fostering deeper learning (Sun, 2010). This is in contrast to a traditional top-down prescriptive approach to teaching which halts opportunity for creativity and problem solving. Furthermore, a bottom up approach allows less opportunity for pupils to fixate on finding movement solutions to challenges in physical activity. In contrast, a top-down approach involves very direct teaching compared to a bottom-up approach which is goal and pupil led.

It is with this in mind that one must ask themselves how effective this can both be applied and have the desired effect on pupils. To do so, one must create their success criteria to allow pupils to model creativity and problem-solving skills and then apply the two teaching styles to research what works best. By doing so the success criteria’s will guide learning and give pupils a goal based learning experience to assess their progress against (Crichton and McDaid, 2016).


This enquiry aims to gather information on the pupil’s ability to model a “creative” learning intention and success criteria. This will be done by adapting both a top-down and bottom-up approach to teaching.

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