Full Question: I teach middle school mathematics. I read Visible Learning for Mathematics and have recently watched some YouTube videos that you are in. I am writing to get some clarification on success criteria, which I am very interested in taking on in my classroom. When you say that learning intentions alone are not enough, and that success criteria for a lesson need to be showed/communicated to students upfront, I'm grappling with what this looks like in math. Here's what I'm thinking, as an example. If my learning target is: I can add fractions with unlike denominators. Would the following be considered appropriate success criteria? 1) I know that when adding fractions, I need to get common denominators 2) I know that with unlike denominators, I need to multiply the numerator and denominator by the same factor because it's equivalent to multiplying by one. 3) I know that when adding fractions, I add the numerators but not the denominators. 4) Show a visual of what success looks like upfront containing symbolic reasoning, basically a worked-out example: 1/3 + 2/5 = 1/3 (5/5) + 2/3 (3/3) = 5/15 + 6/15 = 11/15. I feel like showing these upfront gives away all of the math reasoning (and algorithms) that we want students to experience throughout the lesson.
Answer: “In some ways I would not have considered learning Intentions if starting again as too often they become too molecular and focus so much on the facts - yes, it is hard to make them as much as about understanding and when this is combined in, students prefer to default to the facts. I am much more concerned with showing/telling students what success looks like. – Both Learning Intentions AND Success Criteria are the best though. In our new Visible Learning Feedback book (Hattie, J., & Clarke, S., 2019) we give up and recommend TWO Learning Intentions and /or Success Criteria – one for the surface and one for the deep – and in our work this has resolved the issues. We want both surface and deep, but separating the Success Criteria – and I go further and separately the tasks – I give all my students two assignments/assessments-- one about the knowledge and one about the deep. In your Learning Intentions example – I would use them all (at the right time) as trying to make them too ‘global’ will reduce them to the facts!” (John Hattie, personal communication, February 17, 2019).