Assessment for Learning
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Background

The definitive research on this topic is a literature review by UK Professors Paul Black and Dylan Wiliam titled Inside the black box (PDF, 43Kb).

From this and other research (see Research) there are specific Assessment for Learning strategies which can be used by teachers in the classroom and, if used consistently, these strategies can result in improvement in student achievement. The research indicates that, in particular, these strategies support low achievers in improving their performance.

Key ideas from the research

Here are some key ideas from the research into Assessment for Learning (formative assessment).

Idea No. 1

Students need to know what skills, knowledge or understanding they are expected to learn, so they can improve their performance.

This idea is explored further in the professional learning module on Learning intentions

Idea No. 2

Students need to be told how they will be assessed, so that they can judge for themselves whether or not they have learned what they were expected to.

This idea is explored further in the professional learning module on Success criteria and rubrics

Idea No. 3

'Comment-only' feedback is a more effective aid to learning than 'comment plus grade' or 'grade only' feedback.

This idea is explored further in the professional learning module on Effective teacher feedback.

Idea No. 4

It is crucial that students learn how to self-assess so they can monitor their own learning, and teachers must consciously build in opportunities for this to happen.

This idea is explored further in the professional learning module on Student self-assessment.

Idea No. 5

Students can be taught how to provide effective feedback to their peers, and this process benefits both the student who gives the feedback and the student who receives it.

This idea is explored further in the professional learning module on Peer feedback.

Idea No. 6

Assessment activities designed to produce an evaluation of student performance can also be used in formative ways.

This idea is explored further in the professional learning module on Making formative use of summative assessment.