Assessment for Learning
When employed well, Assessment for Learning can empower learners and improve progress and achievement.
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.
There are a range of strategies and approaches you could employ in your classroom to integrate AfL into your practice. Some key practices are:
- Including learning objectives and achievement criteria for all lessons
- Integrating feedback that enables students to adjust their actions so that they can improve
- Teaching students how to undertake self and peer assessment
- Utilising annotated exemplars so that students understand expectations
- Explicitly teaching students to review and evaluate their abilities, knowledge states and cognitive strategies
- How often do you talk about goals and standards with your students?
- How often do you provide opportunities for students to evaluate the quality of their work? And do you explicitly teach students how to do this?
- Have you taught your students how to engage in effective peer assessment?
"By collating easy-to-use resources, organised by topic, The Education Hub is making it so much easier for our teachers to take research into the classroom and adapt it to suit their students"