Success Criteria

 

Describe what success looks like.

Classroom assessment supports the learning expectations defined in the Minnesota K-12 Academic Standards when learning intentions are clearly defined by teachers. Learning intentions (also called learning targets or objectives) identify what students will be able to know and do by the end of one or a few lessons, while learning progressions identify essential questions and key understandings students should know across units of instruction or even grade-levels.

Success criteria describes what students must demonstrate in order to show mastery of the knowledge and skills defined in the standards. 

In addition to setting clear expectations for learning, it is critical to define how you will know if students have successfully met the learning goal(s).

In collaboration with educators, the Minnesota Department of Education has developed Achievement Level Descriptors and Benchmark Achievement Level Descriptors. These descriptors use the knowledge and skills defined in the K-12 Academic standards and benchmarks to describe grade-level student performance observed on the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA) across four achievement levels.

The resources below can be used by educators to develop more detailed success criteria for classrooms assessments, projects, and tasks. 

 

Benchmark Achievement Level Descriptors

Benchmark Achievement Level Descriptors: A Tool to Evaluate the Rigor of Instructional Materials

Watch the training module below to learn how to use the Benchmark ALDs to evaluate the rigor of classroom assessments and instructional materials:

Benchmark ALD Module Thumbnail

Educators have requested more detailed descriptions of the knowledge, skills, and abilities demonstrated by students across the four achievement levels on the MCA, beyond what the traditional Achievement Level Descriptors (ALDs) offer. In response to this, MDE staff collaborated to outline more specific descriptions: Benchmark ALDs for Mathematics and Reading in grades 3–8 and high school. The purpose of the Benchmark ALDs is to:

  • Support educators in implementing equitable instruction for all students aligned to the Minnesota Academic Standards in Reading and Mathematics.
  • Support educators in evaluating the depth and rigor of their curriculum, instruction, and classroom assessments. 

All grades are available for download by grade level below. Educators may find this format useful for lesson and unit planning, as it shows all the benchmarks and the descriptions of student achievement across each achievement level within a grade level.

Reading
Math
Grade 3Grade 3
Grade 4Grade 4
Grade 5Grade 5
Grade 6Grade 6
Grade 7Grade 7
Grade 8Grade 8
Grade 10Grade 11


 

 

Achievement Level Descriptors

The Achievement Level Descriptors (ALDs) describe the four levels of achievement specific to grade-level for the Minnesota assessments, based on the standards. Students who achieve the “Meets” and “Exceeds” levels are considered proficient with regard to the knowledge, skills and abilities described in the academic standards.
Developed by panels of Minnesota teachers and content experts, the ALDs were created by focusing on a set of questions in reference to the standards and test specifications. These questions might also be useful to educators in determining performance levels when designing classroom assessments and learning objectives:
  • To what degree do students master each standard at each achievement level?
  • For which knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) is it possible to describe gradations of performance across four levels, and for which KSAs is it not feasible?
  • How, according to the test specifications, are students able to show their mastery of KSAs?
ALDs from the Individual Student Reports for reading, mathematics, science and English learner assessments are provided here:
The ALD Maps contain the same information as the ALDs listed above but are organized in a table format that may be easier for teachers to use. The ALD Maps organize the descriptors horizontally by strands (Mathematics and Science) or standards (Reading) and are helpful for comparing performance across achievement levels. The ALD maps can be helpful in evaluating the rigor and alignment of course curriculum and for developing success criteria for classroom assessments aligned to the standards.
Caution when using ALDs: The level of granularity of standards and benchmarks determines the extent to which they can be described across a continuum of performance levels. It is possible to distinguish four levels of performance in many benchmarks, but in others it is not. For this reason, the KSAs of some benchmarks may only appear at the “Meets” level, and not “exceeds.”
For further information, please read Understanding Achievement Level Descriptors.