Principles for assessment for learning
Whilst reading the article by the Assessment Reform Group (ARG, 1999) I was struck by the similarity between the positive outcomes of constructive classroom feedback and the positives of performance feedback in the workplace. There is very little difference. When effectively demonstrated they both increase: self-awareness, motivation and the identification of behaviours to adopt to increase progress and build upon successes.
The key to assessment for learning is providing an opportunity whereby:
- Students can receive swift, timely, constructive feedback
- Students are encouraged to take an active part in their learning
- Teachers can adjust their input according to the learner’s needs (flexibility)
- Both teachers and learners can recognise and identify what motivates and demotivates the learning interventions
- Students are given the tools and skills to self assess on their learning journey
- Focus is on progress rather than success/failure
This can be helped if both students and teachers work together to
- Construct learning goals
- Recognise the importance of self-assessment
- Develop the skills of learning from and acknowledging feedback as a response to input
- Hold a genuine belief that everyone can improve
- Actively share assessment data
In essence, teachers can then use assessment as a formative rather than a summative (historical use) tool.
Skills required for assessment must include: observational, listening, reasoning, questioning, setting tasks to reflect specific skills, confidence working with a variety of Web 2.0 media/tools
Government too must support assessment for learning through teacher training initiatives, policies, inspections and resource allocation.
Assessment for learning must eventually become an integral component of the national educational strategy.
Assessment Reform Group (ARG) (1999) Assessment for Learning: Beyond the Black Box [online], http://assessmentreformgroup.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/beyond_blackbox.pdf (Accessed 5th July)