Online course

Introducing Assessment for Learning

Develop your teaching of STEM subjects: learn how to assess student understanding and tailor lessons to improve learning

  • Duration 3 weeks
  • Weekly study 3 hours
  • Learn Free
  • Extra benefits From $84 Find out more

Discover how assessment for learning will help you develop student understanding

Guided by leading experts in assessment for learning, on this course you will learn practical ways to embed formative practices in your classroom. You will learn how to create classroom interactions that encourage discussion and draw out student’s ideas.

You will explore strategies to help you reveal learners’ thinking and practise intentional dialogue and hinge-point questions. You will leave the course confident in assessing learners’ understanding, so that you can better progress their learning of STEM subjects such as science, computing or mathematics at primary or secondary level.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 7 secondsDYLAN WILLIAM: 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 the information.

Skip to 0 minutes and 19 secondsFrom the thousands of teachers we have worked with, we know that formative assessment is an aspect of teaching underpinned by some basic principles.

Skip to 0 minutes and 28 secondsCHRIS HARRISON: So whether you work in early years, primary, secondary, or further education, and whether you're newly qualified or experienced, doing this course will help you strengthen your own practice.

Skip to 0 minutes and 38 secondsANDREA MAPPLEBECK: From a teacher's perspective, it gives them an idea about what students have learned, what they've understood, as well as what they haven't understood and what they haven't learned.

Skip to 0 minutes and 46 secondsMARTHA (Teacher): For me, Assessment for Learning is about creating a culture in my classroom where the children are active in their own learning. It's a tool for making sure that the children really want to move forward and have the ability to do that.

Skip to 0 minutes and 55 secondsANDY (Teacher): It tells us what they already know and whether they're learning what we're teaching them at any given time.

Skip to 1 minute and 2 secondsJIM RYDER (Professor of Science Education): It's in the moment. So you're not going to do all your assessments right at the end of the unit, or even at the end of the class. You're actually interested in what's going on in the moment, in the classroom.

Skip to 1 minute and 11 secondsDYLAN WILLIAM: the point of the course is to help you reflect on how you teach and make changes that help you be more effective.

Skip to 1 minute and 17 secondsCHRIS HARRISON: Join us and we will help you develop your own understanding of how to make Assessment for Learning work in your classroom and laboratory, by tapping into your students' thinking through the use of challenging hinge point questions, and by getting the evidence you need to help learners take the right next steps. Throughout the course, you'll discover and develop approaches to teaching that will help your own learners think, discuss, and learn, and increase your own expertise as a teacher, strengthening and changing your own classroom and laboratory practices, and encouraging the active involvement of students in their own learning.

What topics will you cover?

  • Key principles of assessment for learning
  • Intentional dialogue as a form of evidence of students’ understanding
  • Hinge-point questions to respond to students’ learning

Introducing Assessment for Learning provides the starting point for your professional development, from which our subsequent courses will build:

This course is supported by experienced mentors until 24 May 2019.

When would you like to start?

Most FutureLearn courses run multiple times. Every run of a course has a set start date but you can join it and work through it after it starts. Find out more

  • Available now
    This course started 22 April 2019

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • Identify the main principles of assessment for learning
  • Reflect on the role of intentional dialogue in supporting teaching in a formative way
  • Develop your use of hinge-point questions to elicit evidence from students
  • Collaborate with peers, educators and mentors to try out activities and share thinking, in order to develop your teaching practice

Who is the course for?

This course is for teachers, curriculum leaders, teaching assistants, newly qualified teachers, trainee teachers and others involved in teaching Science, Engineering, Technology, Computing or Maths. It’s suitable for educators working at primary, secondary or further education (ages 5-19 years).

Teachers of other disciplines may find this course a useful introduction to the ideas of assessment for learning.

Who will you learn with?

Andrea Mapplebeck

Former physics teacher, now supporting educators to develop teaching. Commissioned by National STEM Learning Centre to work with Dylan Wiliam & Chris Harrison to design & support AfL & DfL courses

Chris Harrison

Reader in Science Education and Chair of ASE 2014-2015. Lead UK Researcher on Assessment for Learning. Research interests in Inquiry-learning, professional learning and CPD.

Dylan Wiliam

Former school teacher, academic, and university administrator, now working with teachers and leaders around the world to improve educational outcomes for young people.

Who developed the course?

The National STEM Learning Centre provides world-class professional development activities and resources to support the teaching of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects.

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