Activity 4

The Assessment for Learning Research Project

Can assessment raise standards? In 2005, the UK Assessment Reform Group responded to this question in the following way:

"The answer to this question is ‘yes'. Assessment is one of the most powerful educational tools for promoting effective learning. But it must be used in the right way. There is no evidence that increasing the amount of testing will enhance learning. Instead the focus needs to be on helping teachers to use assessment as part of teaching and learning".

Helping teachers to use assessment as part of teaching and learning is one of the guiding principles of the Assessment for Learning project (AfL), a two-year project involving thirty-six teachers in schools in Medway and Oxfordshire in England who worked alongside a team of researchers from King's College, London.

These teachers tested out a number of formative assessment techniques in their own classrooms and findings of their research were reported in Black and Wiliam's booklet, ‘Inside the Black Box: raising standards through classroom assessment', published in 1998.

READ: Read about the history and main findings of the project in this file.

WRITE: Write about ways in which you already use any of the Assessment for Learning techniques in your own classroom, i.e. rich questioning, comment-only marking, sharing assessment criteria with learners, self assessment, peer assessment.

(Allow 25 minutes)