Assessment for Learning (AfL)
Research by the Assessment Reform Group (ARG) has been found to have worldwide influence. The group advocate the use of Assessment for Learning (AfL). During lessons learners should have the opportunity to Inquire, Reflect, Discuss and Collaborate. The educational environment should create an atmosphere of trust. Feedback, in any form, has been found to increase a range of outcomes for learners but teachers need to encourage learners to read, or listen to feedback. AfL is NOT about constantly testing learners.
Here’s wotworks for us in the classroom.
Ask learners to pair up (putting them in a group may allow someone to coast). Encourage them to use:
- their brain
- their buddies
- their textbook
- their notes
They can report back their findings either to the teacher, to the class or to a group. This encourages collaboration, avoids embarrassment for learners and, most importantly, encourages dialogue.
- Write questions on learners’ work and give them time to answer those questions. They need to work harder than you do!
- Get learners to teach someone else, or even teach a topic to the class.
- Create mind maps – some learners like the use of pictures, colours and words to summarise what they are learning.
Encourage discussion with peers before learners answer a question. This means that they share responsibility. Learners can write their answer on a whiteboard or iPad (try using the educreator app which is free). Ask learners what they think makes excellent work before they begin a task. Let them agree and set their own performance criteria guided by you.
Issue examples of excellent work. Point out, or ask, why the work would be considered “excellent”. Support learners when they mark the work of others. You could set up a discussion group where learners read and comment upon the work of others.
If you wish to find out more about AfL why not visit Professor Dylan Wiliam’s website at http://www.dylanwiliam.org.