You are here

The Success Criteria Playbook

The Success Criteria Playbook
A Hands-On Guide to Making Learning Visible and Measurable

Sketchnotes by Taryl Hansen

224 pages | Corwin
Provide students a clear view of what success looks like for any process, task, or product.

What does success look like for your students? How will they know if they have learned? This essential component of teaching and learning can be difficult to articulate but is vital to achievement for both teachers and students. 

The Success Criteria Playbook catapults teachers beyond learning intentions to define clearly what success looks like for every student—whether face-to-face or in a remote learning environment. Designed to be used collaboratively in grade-level, subject area teams—or even on your own—the step-by-step playbook expands teacher understanding of how success criteria can be utilized to maximize student learning and better engage learners in monitoring and evaluating their own progress. Each module is designed to support the creation and immediate implementation of high-quality, high impact success criteria and includes:

Templates that allow for guided and independent study for teachers. 
Extensive STEM-focused examples from across the K-12 STEM curriculum to guide teacher learning and practice. 
Examples of success criteria applied across learning domains and grades, including high school content, skills, practices, dispositions, and understandings.

Ensure equity of access to learning and opportunity for all students by designing and employing high-quality, high-impact success criteria that connect learners to a shared understanding of what success looks like for any given learning intention.
Module 1: What are success criteria?
Module 2: What are the challenges to creating and implementing success criteria? How do we overcome those challenges?
Module 3: How do success criteria pave the way for equity?
Module 4: Creating and implementing effective "I Can"/"We Can" statements
Module 5: Creating and implementing single-point rubrics
Module 6: Creating and implementing rubrics
Module 7: Creating and implementing success criteria through teacher modeling
Module 8: Creating and implementing success criteria through exemplars
Module 9: Co-constructing criteria for success
Module 10: Different types of success criteria for different aspects of learning
Module 11: How do we use success criteria to foster meta-cognition
Module 12: How do success criteria support deliberate practice and transfer of learning?
Module 13: What is the relationship between success criteria and feedback?
Module 14: How do we use success criteria to fulfill the promise of equity?

With over 30 years of experience in education, you learn to recognize those practices that make a difference in your teaching. The Success Criteria Playbook is one of those books. Focusing on developing high-quality success criteria, John Almarode, Douglas Fisher, Kateri Thunder, and Nancy Frey take success criteria to the next level by laying out a step-by-step process that helps teachers ensure every student has clarity and can be successful in meeting the learning intentions. Each module walks you through the process of developing success criteria that help break down barriers and maximize student learning. This book is a must-have in providing your students a clear understanding of what success looks like!

Barbara J. Lane
Curriculum Coordinator and K–12 Coordinator, San Bernardino County, Superintendent of Schools, San Bernardino, CA

Educators, this book is your next MUST-READ whether you are just hearing about success criteria for the first time or are looking to hone your students’ abilities to articulate how they will know they have mastered your learning intentions. The Success Criteria Playbook is ideal for engaging in collaborative reflection through PLCs or personal reflection as you seek to make learning visible to your students. With a focus on equity in learning for all students, including those participating in distance learning, this book could not be more relevant to schools today.

Kathryn Campbell
Teacher, Hanover County Public Schools, Mechanicsville, VA

Not sure how to know if your students are learning? Wondering if your students even know what success looks like for your lessons? The Success Criteria Playbook: A Hands-On Guide to Making Learning Visible and Measurable has your answers and more! As a classroom teacher it can be hard to know if your students are learning. It’s even harder to know how to adjust for differing assignments, tasks, projects, and evolving expectations. Not all learning is the same, and this book offers clear, teacher-friendly examples that I could immediately take and apply to my own classroom, in whatever scenario I found myself. This book offers wonderful examples from real classrooms that made visualizing this in my own classroom effortless. I was able to easily transfer this text into reality in my classroom. My students know what we are learning, but more importantly they know when they’ve got it, and those lightbulb moments are what it’s all about!

Christen Wenger
Third-Grade Teacher, Rockingham County Public Schools, Rockingham, VA

From classroom, school, and district implementation, The Success Criteria Playbook provides guidance to navigating the hub for all aspects of quality teaching and learning. John Almarode, Douglas Fisher, Kateri Thunder, and Nancy Frey provide the foundation for developing scaffolded
tasks and assessments while incorporating opportunities for feedback. This publication is a hands-on, practical compilation of realistic experience gleaned from classrooms across the world. Standard deconstruction and lesson planning processes start with success criteria. Keys to every learner knowing what they are learning, knowing where they are in their learning, and knowing where they ultimately need to be are found here. The Success Criteria Playbook is a true game-changer!

Josh Maples
Vice Principal, Barren County Public Schools, Glasgow, KY

Sample Materials & Chapters


John Taylor Almarode

Dr. John Almarode is a bestselling author and an Associate Professor of Education at James Madison University. He was awarded the inaugural Sarah Miller Luck Endowed Professorship in 2015 and received an Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council for Higher Education in Virginia in 2021. Before his academic career, John started as a mathematics and science teacher in Augusta County, Virginia. As an author, John has written multiple educational books focusing on science and mathematics, and he has co-created a new framework for developing, implementing, and sustaining professional learning communities called PLC+. Dr. Almarode's... More About Author

Douglas Fisher

Douglas Fisher is professor and chair of educational leadership at San Diego State University and a leader at Health Sciences High and Middle College. Previously, Doug was an early intervention teacher and elementary school educator.  He is a credentialed teacher and leader in California.  In 2022, he was inducted into the Reading Hall of Fame by the Literacy Research Association. He has published widely on literacy, quality instruction, and assessment, as well as books such as Welcome to Teaching, PLC+, Teaching Students to Drive their Learning, and Student Assessment: Better Evidence, Better Decisions, Better Learning. More About Author

Kateri Thunder

Kateri Thunder, Ph.D., has the pleasure of collaborating with learners and educators from school divisions and early learning centers around the world to translate research into practice. She has served as an inclusive early childhood educator, an Upward Bound educator, a mathematics specialist, an assistant professor of mathematics education at James Madison University, and Site Director for the Central Virginia Writing Project. Her research, writing, and presentations focus on equity and access in early childhood and mathematics education, as well as the intersection of literacy and mathematics for teaching and learning. Kateri has... More About Author

Nancy Frey

Nancy Frey is professor of educational leadership at San Diego State University and a leader at Health Sciences High and Middle College. Previously, Nancy was a teacher, academic coach, and central office resource coordinator in Florida.  She is a credentialed special educator, reading specialist, and administrator in California.  She is a member of the International Literacy Association’s Literacy Research Panel. She has published widely on literacy, quality instruction, and assessment, as well as books such as The Artificial Intelligences Playbook, How Scaffolding Works, How Teams Work, and The Vocabulary Playbook. More About Author

For instructors