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This content is taken from the National STEM Learning Centre's online course, Introducing Assessment for Learning. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 3 seconds The research on Assessment for Learning was started for this present type of work that’s been going on in classrooms in 1998, when Paul Black and Dylan Wiliam published a 70-page research article summarising all the findings from different researchers in this area for the previous 10 years. What they did then, which was really helpful to teachers in schools and lecturers in colleges, is to create a booklet called Inside the black box, which is some 20 pages explaining the work they found in their research. The ideas that are contained in the booklet Inside the black box revolutionised how we conceptualise classroom assessment. What it allowed us to do was to think about the formative use of assessment evidence.

Skip to 0 minutes and 45 seconds And that’s what we now actually integrate into Assessment for Learning practice. Since the initial publication of Inside the Black Box, to support teachers in schools we have written a range of subject specific booklets. These booklets exemplify the ideas originally highlighted by Inside the Black Box in a variety of contexts to support teachers across all phases and subjects. So doing this course and using the ideas from inside the booklet will help you ask questions or design activities to find out what’s inside your student’s heads. This will enable you to get feedback on your learners’ thinking. And this will be key in helping you make those decisions about next steps.

Skip to 1 minute and 27 seconds Because it’s when teachers can use this evidence to decide what to do next that Assessment for Learning really works. And this provides a more tailored way and a more tailored approach to teaching and learning.

Do learners always learn what we teach?

Welcome to Introducing Assessment for Learning, from the National STEM Learning Centre.

“Learners do not always learn what we teach. That is why the most important assessment does not happen at the end of learning, it happens during the learning, when there is still time to do something with what you find out.” - Dylan Wiliam

Experienced teachers and leading academics Chris Harrison, Dylan Wiliam, and Andrea Mapplebeck will guide you through effective assessment for learning and how to get evidence about what’s going on in your learners’ minds. The course is based on Dylan Wiliam and Chris Harrison’s research, and the wider literature about formative assessment (references [PDF]). We start here with an introduction from Chris on the background to assessment for learning and a self-audit task to help you set your development goal for the course.

To get the most out of this course, you’ll collaborate with other teachers, both in your workplace and with others online, to take the ideas from this course into practice.

Download our Quick Guide to Effective Online CPD, which includes a useful reflection grid to use throughout the course. You can download the reflection grid template to complete each week.

Course support

All courses from the National STEM Learning Centre are supported by expert educators and experienced mentors. You mentors Jane and Yeasmin will be supporting your professional development between 14 September - 18 October in the discussions throughout the course. There is also a question and answer opportunity with the course educators, post your questions before 5 October 2020.

Mentor support for this run of the course has now finished. However, this course has been designed so that you can learn with others online using the course comments and offline with your colleagues. You are welcome to join the next run of this course where mentor support will be available again.

Self-audit of your understanding of assessment for learning

This self-audit task is for teachers and educators, to help you review your current practice and thinking on assessment for learning. Setting a development goal and being able to assess your own development is a crucial part of professional practice, so we will be revisiting your responses to the self-audit later.

When completing the self-audit, there are no right or wrong answers. Answer honestly about where you are now, not where you want to be. Your answers will help you to identify what areas of practice you need to focus on the most as you progress through the course.

Self-audit task

  1. Access the self-audit task and complete it.
  2. At the end of the survey, click My responses.
  3. Click Download as PDF.
  4. Save the PDF where you will be able to retrieve it to review at the end of the course.
  5. Share your professional development goal in the comments at the bottom of this step.

You may find other teachers have similar goals, and you can discuss the ideas in the course with them over the next few weeks.

Mark complete

When you complete a step on the course, click Mark as Complete at the bottom right. This helps you keep track of your progress. Mark over 90% of the course steps complete and you’ll be eligible for a Certificate of Achievement when you Upgrade.

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This video is from the free online course:

Introducing Assessment for Learning

National STEM Learning Centre