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The Success Criteria Playbook

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

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 has worked with schools, classrooms, and teachers all over the world.  John began his career teaching mathematics and science in Augusta County to a wide range of students.  Since then, he has presented locally, nationally, and internationally on the application of the science of learning to the classroom, school, and home environments.  He has worked with hundreds of school districts and thousands of teachers.  In addition to his time in PreK – 12 schools and classrooms, he is an Associate Professor and Executive Director of Teaching and Learning in the College of Education at James Madison University... More About Author

Douglas Fisher

Douglas Fisher, Ph.D., is Professor of Educational Leadership at San Diego State University and a teacher leader at Health Sciences High. Previously, Doug was an early intervention teacher and elementary school educator. He is the recipient of an International Reading Association William S. Grey citation of merit and an Exemplary Leader award from the Conference on English Leadership of NCTE. He has published numerous articles on teaching and learning as well as books such as The Teacher Clarity Playbook, PLC+, Visible Learning for Literacy, Comprehension: The Skill, Will, and Thrill of Reading, How Tutoring Works, and most recently, How... More About Author

Kateri Thunder

Kateri Thunder, Ph.D. 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 (a National Writing Project site at the University of Virginia). Kateri is an author for Corwin's Visible Learning for Mathematics Series, a member of NCTM's Research Committee and of the Writing Across the Curriculum Research Team with Dr. Jane Hansen, co-author of The Promise of Qualitative Metasynthesis for Mathematics Education with Dr. Robert Berry, and co-creator... More About Author

Nancy Frey

Nancy Frey, Ph.D., is a Professor in Educational Leadership at San Diego State and a teacher leader at Health Sciences High and Middle College. She is a member of the International Literacy Association’s Literacy Research Panel. Her published titles include Visible Learning in Literacy, This Is Balanced Literacy, Removing Labels, and Rebound. Nancy is a credentialed special educator, reading specialist, and administrator in California and learns from teachers and students every day. More About Author

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