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The criteria listed below can be used to evaluate the quality of teaching and learning at a classroom level.

Click one option on each row.

There is a negative or oppressive learning environment which seeks to control and which allows little opportunity for individuals to contribute.

There is a positive learning environment in which “correct” answers are welcomed and rewarded.

There is a positive and supportive learning environment in which individuals are respected and all contributions welcomed and valued.

Classroom layout, display and equipment are inadequate and only occasionally updated.

Classroom layout, display and equipment are satisfactory and updated fairly regularly.

Classroom layout, display and equipment are well managed and frequently updated.

There are few clearly-defined classroom procedures.

Classroom procedures are understood and adhered to by most pupils and are conducive to the learning process.


Classroom procedures are clearly understood and adhered to by all pupils and contribute to the learning process.

Teacher/pupil relationships show evidence of conflict.

Teacher/pupil relationships are usually positive.

Teacher/pupil relationships are predominantly positive.

Pupils’ relationships are frequently negative with pupils working together incidentally or reluctantly.

Pupils’ relationships are generally positive with pupils sometimes directed to work together.


Pupils’ relationships with each other are predominantly positive with pupils being frequently encouraged to work co-operatively.

Learning objectives are not set or are poorly-defined with little or no reference to the wider context.

Learning objectives are clearly defined but with only marginal reference to context.

Learning objectives are clearly defined and understood; relate to previous learning; are relevant; and build a sense of expectation.

There is a lack of planning or lesson-planning is not well managed.

Lessons show evidence of planning – which is generally adhered to (or adhered to over-rigorously).

Lessons are well-planned to maximise the use of time whilst incorporating a degree of flexibility to allow for appropriate extension or enrichment.

Lesson input takes no account of learning styles or different intelligences.

Lesson input appeals to various learning styles and different intelligences.

Lesson input appeals to a wide range of learning styles and different intelligences.

Lessons are mundane or boring with little variety or pupil participation.

Lessons are interesting with some variety and pupil participation.


Lessons are challenging; demonstrating pace, variety and interactivity.

There is little or no differentiation of task.

There is some differentiation of task and outcome to suit individual pupils’ needs and abilities.

There is clear and appropriate differentiation of achievement targets – to which pupils contribute.

Pupil activities are designed merely to occupy time.  They are repetitive or contribute little to developing pupils’ understanding.

Pupil activities are varied to engage a range of different intelligences.


Pupil activities are varied to engage a wide range of different intelligences – with pupils encouraged to choose activities appropriate to their learning preferences.

Little value is attached to pupils’ achievements.  There may be a prevailing attitude of cynicism.

“Successful” pupils are praised (and rewarded) and sometimes encouraged to show what they have achieved.

Pupils’ self-esteem is developed within a “success culture” that values (and rewards) achievement.  Pupils are encouraged to demonstrate what they have learned and achieved.

There is little or no attempt to summarise the lesson or to re-visit the learning objective.

Lesson content is re-visited for the purpose of re-cap and revision.  The lesson is evaluated against the stated learning objective.


The lesson is evaluated against the learning objective. The learning process is reviewed in order to inform future learning and to develop pupils’ awareness of individual learning preferences. 


Use of the above criteria can help to identify the teaching and learning strengths

in your classroom, as well as helping to identify those areas that could be improved.


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Recommended reading

High Performers:

The Secrets of Successful Schools


Alistair Smith


Click to buy on Amazon