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Session 2- Assessment FOR Learning: Five Key Elements--Theory and Practice

An overview of the elements that constitute AFL with theoretical support and practical application

Joe Ambrose

on 26 July 2013

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Transcript of Session 2- Assessment FOR Learning: Five Key Elements--Theory and Practice

What are the elements of AFL?
What does AFL look like?
So what exactly is Assessment FOR Learning?
It is something effective teachers do minute-by-minute and day-by-day to PROMOTE and ENABLE student learning.
It's about the LEARNING!
Here's what AFL is NOT:
a program
a strategy
an add-on, something more
about marks or letter grades
Can be used to find out what students know (so you know what you have to do to help them) or to help them think.
Self & Peer Assessment
An Example...
Photo credits: 'horizon' by pierreyves @ flickr
It is not only about informing teachers about how a student is doing...

It is also (and perhaps more so) about informing the teacher about what adjustments they need to make to help that student learn.
so what?
It is also NOT:
Assessment OF Learning
Descriptive Feedback
clear statements of what students are expected to learn and be able to do.
Record and post learning intentions
Put each learning intention into a bigger picture of “why” students might want to learn it
Keep bringing students’ focus back to the learning intentions during the lesson/task
Give learners a brief time to think and/or talk with a peer before inviting responses. Give 3-5 seconds.
(Most teachers give 1 second or less -- Wiliam).
Ask more questions to help learners think.
Involve students more in asking their own questions.
Refrain from being the arbiter of right & wrong
Use ideas such as “hands down” or “all write” to encourage participation
If a student says “I don’t know”, say you’ll go back to them after 2 more people; if they say they still don’t know, ask them to state their favourite response from the others and tell why
"Good teaching is more a giving of right questions than a giving of right answers."

Josef Albers
“Unless we specify to students what the criteria for learning are, they will continue to be mystified as to what they are to do and what is is they are learning.”

Grant Wiggins, 1992
People perform better when they know the goal(s), see models, know how their performance compares to the criteria.
Rick Stiggins
Criteria is what’s important or what counts in an activity/task. Students of all ages need a clear understanding of the criteria by which--AND the level to which--their work will be assessed.
Is non-judgmental feedback given to the learner about:
What’s next
What’s not working
What is working
Focused on the skill not the product
Direct students' attention to their work, rather than to their mistakes
Makes students active players (BC Principle of Learning)
Is strongly connected to motivation and engagement.
One way students demonstrate ownership is when they show and talk about their own learning with others.
Teach students to use language (criteria and descriptors) directly from the rubric
Language students use should be descriptive rather than evaluative (useful info versus judgments)
Talk with learners about the importance of receiving feedback from themselves and from their peers to support learning (their own AFL)
Establish a pattern for peer feedback such as identify 2 or 3 strengths before giving one suggestion for improvement
How do I know if I am using AFL in my classroom?
Do I routinely share learning goals with my students so they know where we are heading? (Intentions)

Do I routinely communicate to students the standards they are aiming for before they begin work on a task? (Criteria)

Do I routinely have students self and peer assess their work in ways that improve their learning? (Self & Peer Assessment)

Does my questioning technique include all students and promote increased understanding? (Questions)

Do I routinely provide individual feedback to students that informs them how to improve? (Feedback)

Do I routinely provide opportunities for students to make use of this feedback to improve specific pieces of work? ( wnership)
"We think too much about effective methods of teaching and not enough about effective methods of learning."

John Carolus S. J.
Assessment OF Learning
Summative/Final/Official Assessment
Evaluation of students by teachers
What teachers do TO students
Goal is to MEASURE learning
Serves as CERTIFYING or CULMINATING evaluation that discounts further learning
“Rethinking Classroom Assessment with Purpose in Mind” (Western and Northern Canadian Protocol, 2006) (http://www.wncp.ca/media/40539/rethink.pdf)

BCELC web series featuring Faye Brownlie

BC Ministry of Education: Classroom Assessment and Student Reporting

Performance Standards

Anne Davies ( )
“Talk About Assessment: Strategies and Tools to Improve Learning”, Damian Cooper, 2007, Nelson
Learning About Learning video series. Learning and Teaching Scotland,
Assessment is for Learning (AifL). Learning and Teaching Scotland,

Learning About Learning (Assessment) Staff Development materials (PowerPoint and Facilitator's Guide to use with staff)

Wordle ( )
Prezi ( ) (Prezi template acknowledgement to Adam Somlai-Fischer )
Visible Learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. Hattie, John (Routledge, 2009) ISBN: 978-0-415-47618-8

...that needs to be:
Can the student
“re-submit” work?

Allow them to do so provided they attach a note directing the teacher to what they did to improve it.
Faye Brownlie
Becomes Assessment AS Learning
Develops students’:
communication and interpersonal skills
critical thinking skills
skills of metacognition
Evaluation AU SERVICE DE l'apprentissage
Evaluation EN TANT QU'apprentissage
Evaluation DE l'apprentissage
www.wordle.net is a site that creates a "word cloud" of any pasted text with the highest frequency words appearing the largest.
A teacher had her grade 2 students "wordle" their narrative stories...
The info she got told her she needed to work with her students on developing their vocabulary in order to improve their narrative writing (more descriptive synonyms for "went").
Teacher clarity and explanation of intention ranked as the 8th (of 138) most important contributor to learning (Hattie, 2009)
Use "face your challenges" or "strive to the highest" goals instead of "do your best" goals.

"DYB" goals are easily attained by anyone; The performances of students who have the most challenging goals are over 250% higher than the performances of students with the easiest goals.
(Wood & Locke , 1997, in Hattie, 2009)
Teachers spend 35-50% of teaching time posing questions, or about 100 questions per hour. Teachers ask 300-400 questions per day, the majority of which are low-level cognitive questions (60% recall, 20% procedural) versus open-ended, inquiry questions (research cited in Hattie, 2009).
Use student-labelled popsicle sticks in nested cans to "pick on" certain students (but make it look like you're pulling their name "by luck").
Using previously collected samples of a task (models at each level of performance), lead the class in creating a rubric with aspect criteria and levels of performances for each criterion, and hand it out prior to the task--this process will build ownership and clarity of expectation.
Use a rubric
Students can understand the differences in 4 levels of performance...not 100 (which is what giving a percentage is).
Build a rubric for tasks that the students will do repeatedly...that way you can use the same rubric each time and students will know from the previous assessment what they need to do to improve the next time.
Descriptive Feedback is "among the most powerful influences on achievement" (Hattie, 2009).
...feedback is most powerful when it is "student-to-teacher" feedback that occurs through questioning and through the results of formative assessment (Hattie, 2009)
"When teachers seek, or at least are open to, feedback from students as to what students know, what they understand, where they make errors, when they have misconceptions, when they are not engaged--then teaching and learning can be synchronized and powerful. Feedback to teachers helps make learning visible."
(Hattie, 2009)
Metacognitive skills such as self-questioning rank 13th on the most influential contributors to student achievement (Hattie, 2009).
Look what happens to the student's level of thinking when you
do that!
A sample...
"wordle" of Assessment of Learning from "Rethinking Classroom Assessment with Purpose in Mind", WNCP, 2006)
By the way...
According to Hattie, "Providing formative evaluation" (aka AFL) is the #3 (out of 138) most significant contributor to student achievement.

When you are testing, marking, observing, assessing (etc) your students' work:
What information do you want to get from these assessments?
What will you do with the data? What will you use it for?
Why are you doing it? (Do you have to do it, or do you choose to do it?)
What is the PURPOSE for the assessment anyway?
What is the PURPOSE of teaching?
Before we begin...ask yourself these questions:
You don't fatten a pig by weighing it...
You weigh it to see if you're giving it the best to eat.
If not, you have to change its diet.
Full transcript