Perhaps the single most influential piece of educational research ever conducted, Black and Wiliam’s work on formative assessment is still very much worth a read if you’re interested in developing this area of your teaching.
A follow up project, called “Working Inside the Black Box” was published some years later – which looked at how AFL was being used in schools.
More recently, Dylan Wiliam wrote a short article in the TES claiming that AFL was not being successfully implemented in schools; blaming government interference for a ‘tragic’ shift of focus from the original concept of pupils becoming ‘owners’ of their own learning, towards micro-monitoring of pupils’ progress by teachers.
So, what is AFL? Dylan Wiliam summarises in 5 simple strategies:
* Clarifying, sharing and understanding learning intentions.
* Eliciting evidence of pupil learning, through the use of tests and quizzes, for example.
* Providing feedback that moves learning forward.
* Using pupils as learning resources for one another, through methods such as peer assessment and peer tutoring.
* Encouraging pupils to be owners of their own learning, through self-assessment and other methods.
One challenge for assessing progress has been the sudden removal of National Curriculum levels from KS3. The commission for assessment without levels report identifies the key principles of assessment and has some examples of good practice.
Not so long ago, I presented some of the key issues involved in assessment to a Policy Network event. The presentation for this can be downloaded here:
Here’s a brief overview created for an ITT session on AfL