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Skip to 0 minutes and 4 secondsYou've had a look at the lesson on solutions. And this is a difficult area of science that's fraught with misconceptions. However, the design of the lesson and the drive of the dialogue help some of those problematic ideas that the students actually give come to the surface. So you probably will find there is confusion over what the particles are and what the space around the particles actually represent. For example, many of the students believe the space around the actual particles is the water rather than understanding that you've actually got solute and solvent particles there. Also for some students, there's confusion over the size of the particles.

Skip to 0 minutes and 46 secondsThey believe liquids must have smaller particles than solids and gases have the tiniest particles of all. Creating the classroom culture, where the actual difficult ideas come to the surface so they reveal their misconceptions, is important. And it's particularly giving opportunity for students to work in pairs, where they can use peers as a resource, or to allow them to compare with others before there's any class discussion that really helps drive this type of pedagogy. In Inside the Black Box-- and we did the initial research-- we were aware of four areas that needed working on in classrooms to create this particular environment.

Skip to 1 minute and 28 secondsOne of them was questioning. Another was feedback. Then it was self and peer assessment. And finally, the formative use of tests and quizzes.

Skip to 1 minute and 40 secondsHaving worked on this now for well over 15 years, we now have begun to understand that classroom assessment is a combination of opportunities for acting on evidence. Sometimes, we'll use these formatively to drive learning forward and sometimes in a more summative way to report on the previous learning. The key characteristics of formatively-driven classroom-- are interactive dialogue, collaborative learning, and self-regulation with the pupils playing an active role in the learning and assessment cycle. To make these aspects work well in the classroom, many teachers have incorporated specific strategies, such as using many white boards to quickly collect the range of answers from the class or, perhaps, traffic lights so that learners could indicate their confidence in their answers.

Skip to 2 minutes and 32 secondsThese provide both more evidence and a richer evidence of students' understanding. And so this makes the next steps clearer and easier to decide on. The formative classroom is one where teachers set up opportunities to collect this evidence. So we find out what students know, partly know, and don't know and then use this evidence to decide on those next steps.

Assessment for learning: the key ideas behind it

In this video Chris Harrison considers some of the observations you may have made about the lesson transcript you’ve just reviewed. Chris then moves on to explain the key ideas behind assessment for learning.

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Assessment for Learning in STEM Teaching

National STEM Learning Centre

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