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Inferring errors

Inference is about noticing both formal and informal learning interactions in your classroom, and then assessing what student responses are telling you about how their ideas may limit or progress their learning.

Chris explores this in her article on ‘teacher noticing’, an extract of which is provided below. Use the comments to discuss any aspects you are not sure about and what ‘inferring errors’ means to you.

Article extract

Teacher noticing involves two main processes, attending to specific events within classroom interactions and then making sense of these events within the instructional setting in order to broaden the range of responses a teacher has in their repertoire (Sherin, Jacobs, & Phillip, 2011)…

To foster student learning through assessment for learning, teachers’ need to be able to identify the curricular substance and implications of students’ responses. Teachers need to be able to assess whether students’ answers are right, wrong or partially right, and to evaluate the extent to which the ideas students express might advance or impede their learning in the short and or the longer term. They need to be able to generate a range of actions to take student learning forward from their current position…

When teachers begin to engage with assessment for learning practices, their initial focus is often on eliciting and refining evidence collection during learning activities. Teachers more readily recognise the evidence they expect from their teacher-initiated assessment for learning interactions, in contrast to more informal or student-initiated contributions (Hawe & Parr, 2014). However, as teachers develop their assessment for learning practices further and explore with students the evidence of their thinking, teachers are able to attend to and a wider range of evidence to inform their formative actions (Harrison, 2016a).

Source: Cowie, Harrison and Willis (2018).


Inferring errors

What does ‘inferring errors’ mean? Do you have any examples from your own practice you can share? Put your definition of inference in the comments below.

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This article is from the free online course:

Planning for Learning: Formative Assessment

National STEM Learning Centre