What is assessment for learning all about and how can these concepts be applied to everyday classroom practice to trigger real improvements in your pupils' learning curve? Questions like these are constantly on the minds of curriculum managers and school leaders that it can often feel as though you are tip-toeing on a mine-field of uncertainty
The fourth issue of Curriculum Briefing – Achieving Effective Assessment for Learning, brings to you invaluable insights into how your peers and other schools have sown the seeds for successful assessment for learning, for example, by encouraging student involvement through self- and peer assessment methods, and ensuring effective communication between teacher and student. This issue will help you to gain a full understanding of the key concepts of assessment for learning and will ensure you make decisive steps forward in improving practice in this area throughout your school.
Achieving Effective Assessment for Learning provides you with the practical tools that you need to successfully map out your pupils’ learning development – to devise realistic objectives for guiding and supporting their learning for today, and also to establish learning milestones that they need to achieve in the future. Achieving Effective Assessment for Learning will help you and your school to:
SUMMARY OF CONTENTS
OVERVIEW: Achieving effective assessment for learning: making the right connections
Work by the Assessment for Learning Group at King’s College, known by many as ‘Inside the black box’, has pioneered a new approach to assessment that is about improving learning. Professor Paul Black, one of the King’s College team leaders, shares the findings of the project, giving a useful overview of the key elements of effective assessment for learning.
DEFINING ASSESSMENT FOR LEARNING Understanding key concepts
How is assessment for learning different for assessment for other purposes? What does it involve for your students? Why is it important? Why is it not more widely implemented? These are just some of the questions that Wynne Harlen answers as she brings AfL out of the shadows to reveal what it is all about.
ROLE OF THE TEACHER All change: approaching teaching from a new perspective
Effective use of AfL can require teachers to completely change the role they play in the classroom. From changing their thinking, their attitude to professional practice, and the expectations they have of their students, Clare Lee shows how curriculum managers can best handle this to help teachers make the transition smoothly.
SCHOOL CASE STUDY Making AfL part of everyday practice
While the students may not always be aware of it, at Gillots School they experience AfL in all classrooms. Deputy Headteacher Richard Kennell describes how they have achieved whole-school effective practice, with each faculty developing its own take on the process.
ROLE OF THE LEARNER Involving students through self- and peer assessment
How do you get students started on peer and self-assessment? To introduce these important elements of AfL successfully, teachers need to change their thinking on how they approach teaching and learning. Jan Winter outlines the change in roles that needs to take place in the classroom so that you can use these assessment methods to maximise student potential.
CASE STUDY: INTRODUCING STUDENTS TO AFL Building for success: developing a step-by-step approach
Staff at Lord Williams School realised that beginning small and then progressing from there is the key to ensuring students develop a true understanding of what AfL is all about – so they started by focusing on questioning, before then going on to develop self- and peer assessment. Deputy Headteacher David Whybron describes the progress they have made so far.
STYLES OF ASSESSMENT Fit for the purpose: choosing the right assessment task
Deciding which type of assessment to use for different learning activities is a key skill in effective AfL practice. Paul Weeden discusses the key issues involved in making the right decisions, before giving the low-down on the different styles of assessment available to you.
CLASSROOM INTERACTIONS Communicating to maximise learning from AfL
How teachers interact with their students in the classroom can be the difference between effective and destructive AfL. From sharing learning objectives and success criteria to using skilful questioning, and creating opportunities for effective reflection, Susan Bermingham, Pat Woolfe and Penny Sweasey show the right type of interactions to develop to ensure each element of assessment for learning works well in practice.
CASE STUDY ON CLASSROOM PRACTICE Using AfL in everyday lessons
LEA consultants and teachers in York have investigated the use of assessment for learning in everyday lessons as part of partnership research. Alison Wilcox and Paula Mountford share the findings, drawing out messages on how curriculum managers can embed and sustain similar approaches in their own schools, and how you can provide for the six AfL characteristics in your classrooms.
CASE STUDY: MAKING AFL WORK IN CLASSROOMS Lessons in AfL: following the right plan
Staff at Bournville School in Birmingham used an overhaul of their approach to teaching and learning as a springboard to develop explicit ways for teachers to incorporate AfL in practice. Nicky Arber and Sarah Hubbard share how the school has developed a unique approach to lesson planning that ensures AfL is incorporated in a meaningful way.