Practice Fourteen – Introduction

Practice #14

All learners experience success. The educator guarantees it by comparing learners to their own past performance, not the performance of others. Learners are showcased, and past failures are disregarded.

Contents include Printable materials, Ready-to-use Strategies, and Web links in the following sections:

Implementation Basics

Ideas for Implementation

Implementation Evaluation and Goal Setting

Life Principle



Hand Signs

Practice Connections

Practice Characteristics

Evidence of Practice




Music & Video Links

Learning Strategies

Mind Map

Goal Setting Process with Individual and Class Forms and Examples


Introduction to Practice #14

All learners experience success. The educator guarantees it by comparing learners to their own past performance, not the performance of others. Learners are showcased, and past failures are disregarded.

The WHY? of Practice #14!

Implementation supports:

  • Learners becoming confident risk-takers when they experience numerous incremental successes and when past failures are viewed as learning opportunities.
  • Educators serving as advisors, mentors, or resources assisting learners to set goals, increase effort, and self-assess their progress.
  • Showing learners how to use their own past experiences and knowledge in building connections with the current instruction.
  • Measuring success with a standard that reduces negative competition.
  • Helping learners develop a vision and a plan to reach the vision that can transform their efforts and successes.
  • Finding ways to reveal learners’ talents and abilities and to give them feedback as to their progress toward personal goals.


  • Outside of the home environment, educators are the number-one resource in helping learners succeed. According to the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future, educator expertise has a direct correlation to high learner achievement. Darling-Hammond, L (1997, November). Doing What Matters Most: Investing in Quality Teaching. New Your: National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future.
  • In using comparison in feedback to learners, it is good to compare a learner’s work with his or her own past performance. Examples of good kinds of comparisons include comparing work to learner-generated rubrics, comparing learner work to rubrics that have been shared ahead of time, and encouraging a reluctant learner who has improved even though the work is not yet good. Examples of bad kinds of comparisons include putting up wall charts that compare learners with one another and giving feedback on each learner’s work according to different criteria or not criteria. Brookhart, S.M. (2008). How to Give Effective Feedback to Your Students. Alexandria, VA: ASCD
  • Motivate Learners by Building a Dream/Vision - This piece addresses the Importance of using the Power of Vision for setting goals based on the foundation of the Great Expectations tenets.

For Research: see Rationale for 17 Practices Practice #14 – pages 30-31 on Great Expectations website.


The WHERE? EVERYWHERE learners are engaged in the instructional process.

The WHEN? - Daily use of the elements of Practice #14 will:

  • Develop clear expectations for instructional timelines, components, and outcomes.
  • Assist learners in evaluating their understanding throughout the learning process through frequent formative assessments.
  • Use goal-setting to aid in focusing learner efforts.
  • Make learners feel capable and able to contribute.
  • Aid learners in viewing mistakes as learning opportunities.

Regardless of differences, we strive shoulder to shoulder… Teamwork can be summed up in five short words: “We believe in each other.”

- Author Unknown

Main objection: "This takes too much time!" Response: What are the goals for all learners?


  • To have a clear understanding of the expectations and standards for behavior and academic performance.
  • To offer opportunities for learners to experience success through achievement of personal academic goals.
  • To support, challenge and affirm all learners.
  • To respect all learners and to challenge them by offering voice and choice in their learning.
  • To create a threat-free environment that encourages individuals to ask questions and share ideas.


  • Why Feedback Is Important
  • Giving frequent, early positive feedback supports learners’ beliefs that they can do well is a component for developing learner self-motivation. Weinert, F.E., and Kluwe, R.H. (1987). Metacognition, Motivation, and Understanding. Hillsdale. N.J.: Erlbaum.
  • Displaying learner work sends several important messages: As teachers, we value what students do. This is their classroom as much as ours. And in this classroom, students share their work, learning from each other. Furthermore, consider this simple fact: Learners will look at their own work more frequently than they will look at commercial materials. - Mike Anderson, “Every Teacher Tips: Displaying Student Work.”
  • Consistently, researchers have found that when educators effectively employ feedback procedures, they positively and often powerfully impact the achievement of their learners. In fact, “Academic feedback is more strongly and consistently related to achievement than any other teaching behavior…. This relationship is consistent regardless of grade socio-economic status, race, or school setting…. When feedback and corrective procedures are used, most students can attain the same level of achievement as the top 20% of students.” Bellon, J., Bellon, E., and Blank, M.A. (1992). Teaching from a Research Knowledge Base: A development and renewal process. New York: MacMillan, 277-8
  • Practice #14 supports the Personal Values, Relations with Others, and Communication Skills listed under The 8 Keys to Employability:

Key #1: Personal Values

  • Honest
  • Positive self-image
  • Personal and career goals
  • Emotional stability
  • Good attitude

Key #2: Problem-solving and Decision-making Skills

  • Creative & Innovative
  • Flexible
  • Adapt to change
  • Plan & organize work
  • Reason & make objective decisions

Key #6: Maturity

  • Dependable
  • Accept responsibility
  • Don't let personal problems interfere
  • Willing to perform extra work
  • Pride in their work

Developing Employability Skills - School Improvement Research