Assessment for Learning (AfL) refers to the formative use of assessment information, gathered from both formal tests and informal observations of students, their work, and their responses in classroom discussion, to gain insight into the students’ learning progress, so that teachers and students can adapt their teaching and learning strategies to better support that learning.
AfL enhances learning by indicating where learners require additional support and what is appropriate next as a learning challenge. It is a process of ‘learning, for learning, in learning’ — teachers and students are continually learning about what understanding the students have gained, in order to inform the next teaching and learning act.
AfL is a collaborative partnership between teachers and students in which teachers and students learn together about students’ learning progress and needs. AfL supports the transfer of the ownership of learning to the students, so that students gradually come to manage their own learning.
There is a growing research base, including a number of studies undertaken in New Zealand, on assessment for learning. However, there are still a number of aspects of assessment for learning that are under researched, including aspects of self and peer-assessment and what effective assessment for learning looks like in classroom practice.
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