What is a success criteria / WILF?

What is success criteria?
Find out what success criteria (also known as the 'WILF') are and how your child's teacher will use success criteria to boost learning focus.
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What is a success criteria / WILF?

A success criteria is a list of features that a teacher wants the children to include in their work during the course of a lesson. It is a really good way of making children aware of what is expected of them and can also encourage them to extend themselves during the course of the lesson.

Sometimes the success criteria is called the 'WILF' ('What I'm Looking For…'). This is a more child-friendly alternative!

Success criteria in literacy

Teachers will not use success criteria for every lesson and it is more commonly used in literacy lessons, especially when a child is doing a piece of writing, for example:

Learning objective: To write about Theseus' journey into the maze
Success criteria: Describe the maze using sight, sound, touch and smell. Use capitals and full stops in the right places

This may be written on the board at the start of the lesson; the teacher will then carry out a shared writing session where he or she will model how to include the senses in their description of the maze and alert children's attention to using capital letters and full stops.

It is important that the success criteria can be seen by children throughout the lesson (either left on the board or on printed pieces of paper which they have on their tables). Teachers may stop the children every fifteen minutes or so, to remind them about the success criteria and possibly ask them to look back in their work to check they have included these elements in their work.

Success criteria in numeracy

Success criteria can also be used in numeracy, if a teacher thinks they might help children tackle their work better, or if the children are required to set it out in a certain way.

Learning objective:  To multiply using the grid method

Success criteria: 
Draw a 3 x 3 grid
Partition the numbers and put them in the correct boxes
Multiply each number together
Add up the four numbers you are left with

In writing this success criteria, the teacher is giving step-by-step instructions on how to carry out the grid method. Obviously, the children will need to have this demonstrated to them a few times and one of these demonstrations will need to be left on the board in order for them to be able to do it.

Success criteria is an important tool in encouraging children to focus their learning and prompting them to think about the elements they are including.