Assessment for Learning: the practical implications. A contribution from Ruth Sutton March 2008. My task and intent. My task : to offer you ideas to stimulate reflection and conversation, and then respond to your questions
Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author.While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.
A contribution from Ruth Sutton
My intent is to keep things simple and practical, while recognising that making assessment for learning work and last in our schools is not easy or quick.
AFL challenges some of our assumptions and our habits around teaching and learning, and hard-wired habits are hard to break
Let’s get going…
back to basics
Checks learning to date
Audience beyond the classroom
Uses numbers, scores and grades
No need to involve the learner
Assessment for learning
Suggests next learning
Audience is teachers and learners
Continual – conversation and marking
Specific feedback, using words
Must involve the learner – the person most able to improve learningAssessment: 2 Key Purposes
What else could we call ‘Assessment for Learning’ to clarify its real purpose?
The Winnipeg Inner City project was entitled ‘Feedback for Learning’
Facts, not judgements
Explicitly related to clear shared criteria
Usually in words
Includes specific next steps
Judgements, without specific detail
General and overall, rather than relating to specific criteria
Usually numbers (scores, grades) but can be words too, eg. ‘Good job’
Provides general goals, eg ‘Pay attention to punctuation’ but not specific adviceWhat’s the difference between ‘descriptive’, and ‘evaluative’?
Another implication for planning….now we want teachers to check, as they go along, for students’ understanding, and be flexible enough to adapt their teaching to meet the learners’ needs, not just plough on regardless, driven by coverage of the programme
Many teachers already use simple techniques to check what’s happening in students’ heads:
* ‘Thumbs up/down/sideways’ to indicate
levels of grasp
* Asking a key question and using students’
answers as a guide
* ‘traffic lights’ shown by students to
communicate easily how they’re feeling
about the learning
What matters is that the students are expected to reflect and respond honestly, and the teacher is able to act upon their responses
It’s a big issue, and one to discuss when we break for conversation
AFL Principle #4‘Recognition of the profound effect assessment has on the motivation and self-esteem of students, both of which are powerful influences on learning’
What does it look like and feel like in a classroom where students’ motivation and their self-respect as learners are treated as ‘powerful influences on learning’?
How about this…..
Believing in yourself as a learner
and the chance to act
‘Locus of control’
Having some control over factors
that influence your success
What we know about intrinsic motivation applies to us as well….
Here again, the wording is deliberate…our job is to make sure that students are ‘able’ – and willing – to assess themselves
If we’ve paid attention to the previous four principles, this one should take care of itself…
10. Students present their learning and achievement to an audience
1. Task (clenched fist)
2. Purpose (hand on heart)
3. Share (spread your hands)
4. Small steps (down the arm)
5. Get working (turn around)
6. Look and check (binoculars)
7. Idea for improvement (finger in air)
8. Take a step towards (step forward)
9. Look back to reflect (look over shoulder)
10. Present learning (raise your arms)
In the early years of schooling:
1. How can children be encouraged to reflect on their learning, in the simplest terms and the most basic activities?
2. How does Assessment for Learning connect with other important goals of early learning?
3. What are the roadblocks we need to watch out for at this stage?
In elementary classrooms:
In secondary classrooms:
For school leaders:
2. What ‘evidence’ of AFL implementation will we look for across the school? (You’ll need to be quite specific about this)
We will leave you with your facilitators for 25 minutes:
“But the dog’s not whistling”
“I taught the dog to whistle!”
“I said I taught him, I didn’t say he learned it!”
Content is fixed
Timing is tight
Students’ questions only matter if they’re within the required framework
Looks neat and tidy
All the space is filled
Predictable and safe
Planning for learning
Content is decided after checking with the students
Timing is looser
Students’ questions provide opportunities for teaching and leaning
Some spaces are left blank: ‘it depends what crops up’
Less predictable and feels riskier
Find out about prior learning
Discuss these choices with others: we need to be sure, and we need to share ways of getting these bits across to our students
Highlight these aspects so you can see how they are spaced out across the programme
You are confident in these areas and know that you do a good job with them
Your students usually enjoy this work and benefit from it
Mark these bits in a different colour
You now have to decide which bits are ‘expendable’, which means that you will not plan to teach them to all your students.
You may have resources to help students learn these bits, which can be offered to those students who want, need, or could benefit from them, but not be part of your class teaching programme
- Big, important, agreed goals
- Small steps and continual feedback
- Collegial support and accountability
- Recognition of success
- teachers work together
- decide an area for change
- identify strategies that might help
- try them out in their rooms
- come back together to share what they did and what happened, try again, check the evidence of the impact of the new habits on learners, and on themselves, and refine their activities still further
Learning these skills and approaches to learning is not accidental or trivial. It has to be an intentional part of schooling and is the educators’ greatest gift to their students.
When students are clearer about what’s expected of them, more engaged and more focussed on their own learning, the teacher’s day is demonstrably more enjoyable and rewarding.