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The impact of responsiveness over time

In this step we provide an extract from a chapter that presents a collaborative approach to planning for learning, that is particularly relevant to medium term planning across a curriculum.

Read and reflect

Richard DuFour presents a story offering a model of excellence in assessment in a school setting. Read through this extract from his chapter and make note of any particular points that are of interest to you.

This extract is used with permission and from ‘Ahead of the Curve: The Power of Assessment to Transform Teaching and Learning’ edited by Douglas Reeves. Copyright 2007 by Solution Tree Press. All rights reserved.

Planning with colleagues

You should use the evidence of student learning you gather to inform how you will teach topics. Assessing learning in the formative classroom requires that you take action on the evidence. Therefore, when assessing topics, do not leave the assessment of the topic until the end of your teaching block, as you will have missed your opportunity to respond to evidence of student understanding. You will need to allow classroom time to support students to address any gaps identified through the assessment process.

Longer term planning will involve colleagues to develop the scheme of work for the year. This will involve planning where knowledge and skills will be developed over the whole year and between years, for example leading towards an end of school summative assessment (such as GCSEs in England and Wales).

As seen in the extract, one approach to identify common weak points is to look at assessments across the year groups with colleagues. Other resources that can support this process are interrogating examiners’ reports for aspects of the learning that pupils nationally have had difficulties with. Such activities can then help you address misconceptions and shape the scheme of work to address these broad topic areas.


What ways do you currently work with colleagues to identify common areas of challenge in student learning? How might you improve the way this informs your planning for learning?

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This article is from the free online course:

Planning for Learning: Formative Assessment

National STEM Learning Centre