Success Criteria

Deliberate practice is a learning method where the learner intentionally practices something and then thinks about what was accomplished through the practice. This requires using words to describe the focus of the practice and then the related thinking about it. In education these words are often called ‘success criteria’.

Before I retired, I sketched when I could, often in meetings, and often without a purpose other than staying focused on the speaker and enjoying the meeting. I followed the same process for most sketches. I typically started a sketch with the speaker’s eyes and moved out across the page until the paper was used up or the meeting was over. I had no goals for communicating my thinking about the meeting through images, and no vocabulary for what I was doing.  My theory for why I have not grown much as a sketcher despite all my practice is that I did not do enough deliberate thinking with success criteria about my sketches.

When I started blogging in June, I did not have enough experience and know-how to develop success criteria for deliberate sketching. This made learning to sketch challenging since vocabulary is pretty much required for learning. Now, with two months of experience from sketching, blogging and reading blogs, I am better able to describe my success criteria for Deliberate Sketching.  Here is my best thinking to date:

Success Criteria for Planning the Sketch

  • Focus: Do I have a specific focus for today’s deliberate practice of sketching?  Did I describe what this focus is and its potential impact on my sketching?
  • Plan: Do I have I plan for the sketch? Before starting to sketch, did I pause to connect to the scene and what is going on? Did I decide on a story to convey that is true to the scene I want to sketch? Did I think about options for conveying this story through image, tools and materials? Did I do a thumbnail sketch?

Success Criteria for Evaluating the Sketch’s Merit

  • Story: Does my sketch tell a story or communicate an idea? Did I intentionally use elements such as body language, facial expression, gesture, exaggeration, movement, color, value, shadow, light, positive and negative space, detail, props or composition to tell the story?
  • Technique: Did I use my art materials and tools in a technically engaging manner? Did I make marks on the paper that are pleasing to view, contribute to the meaning, and do not distract or overwhelm? For my skill level, this means: did I use pencil, pen, ink, watercolor, and paintbrushes well?
  • Like: Do I like the sketch? Would I like to look at it again? Does it have qualities that pull me back into it? Is there a way to redo it so I like it more?

Success Criteria for Evaluating the Learning Gained from Deliberate Practice

  • Learn: What did I learn by deliberately practicing today’s specific focus for sketching? How does this element impact the overall sketch? Can I use this learning in other sketches?
  • Next: What else do I need to learn to accomplish my specific goal? What will I learn next?

Sarah Sullivan
August 25, 2015