Assessment for Learning
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Reflection, practice and evaluation


  • How might you use your current summative assessment program in a more formative way?


  • Experiment with some of the 'after the test' strategies suggested in this chapter. Discuss and compare your findings with a peer.
  • Instead of asking students to sit a test at the end of a teaching unit, ask them to design an appropriate test. Set guidelines regarding the skills, knowledge and understanding to be tested, and the variety and type of questions to be set. Ask students to write a reflection on this process after they have finished. Was this an effective way to assess student learning? Share your findings with your teaching group or learning team.


Evaluate a test that has been, or will be given, to students. (Only when tests have been effectively designed are they able to generate information about student learning that can be used in a formative way.)

Use these questions as guidelines:

  • Is the content of the test specifically addressing the skills, knowledge and understanding which have underpinned the teaching?
  • Is there a marking scheme? Does it reflect the demands of each of the questions?
  • Is there a variety of question types (multiple choice, short answer etc.) on the test?
  • Identify the cognitive demands of each of the questions. Is there a logical order on the paper from simple recall questions to ones which are more demanding of the student?
  • Are the questions written in clear and explicit language? Will students be clear about what they are being asked?
  • Do features of the test advantage or disadvantage students of different genders, ethnicities or language backgrounds, or with different learning styles?