Planning for Learning: Formative Assessment

Develop the way you use evidence of student understanding to inform your teaching and enable learning during and across lessons.

  • Duration 5 weeks
  • Weekly study 3 hours
  • Learn Free
  • Extra benefits From $74 Find out more

Improve learning outcomes in STEM subjects through effective planning

Guided by experts in assessment for learning, on this course you’ll plan to identify your learners’ thinking, clarify learning goals and fine tune your teaching to progress your students’ understanding, both in and between lessons.

Plan based on learners’ starting points, use success criteria, and develop your classroom questioning to adjust your teaching approach and respond to student learning. You’ll also look at medium-term planning and the benefits of working with colleagues as you change your practice.

Skip to 0 minutes and 6 seconds[Andrea Mapplebeck] As teachers we all know that planning is essential, so how do you make sure it drives forward student progress? How do we plan for learning? As a teacher who wants to promote the learning of your students, you'll want to make evidence-informed judgements and apply a range of approaches to respond and adapt teaching during and in between lessons. [Dylan Wiliam] Planning for Learning in STEM Teaching is for teachers of all phases, from primary to secondary and post-16. Assessment for learning helps teachers collect evidence to tailor student learning. [Chris Harrison] We'll look at planning to identify students’ starting points before exploring ways to tune teaching approaches and techniques for responding to student learning.

Skip to 0 minutes and 45 secondsFinally we look at medium term planning and planning with colleagues. [Andrea] Through combining evidence-based research with your own experiences and understanding of your students and classroom environment, you will develop effective approaches to improve student achievement and engagement with their learning. [Laura (Teacher)] We need to think not just about what they can do the next two weeks, but how that's going to help them in the future when they move on to future topics. [George (Teacher)] Children aren't able to achieve, if you just give them a task, as well as if you give them tasks built on what they already know.

Skip to 1 minute and 15 seconds[Amy (Teacher)] And it's about knowing where children are at coming into the lesson, and how you're going to get them to the next step leaving the lesson so none of the children get left behind. [Ashley (Teacher)] Every lesson is different, every student's different, every group you put together is different. You have to be ready to adapt your timing and if you can’t get something in that particular lesson it’s not the end of the world. [Chris Harrison] On this course you will see a range of approaches exemplified by teachers and learn ways to listen in to your students and infer their progress. These approaches will help you become better able to support the learning of all your students.

Skip to 1 minute and 48 seconds[Dylan Wiliam] Planning for Learning is one of many online CPD courses provided by the National STEM Learning Centre as part of the STEM teaching program on FutureLearn. [Andrea Mapplebeck] You will learn with other teachers from around the world, contextualise the course within your own teaching environment and will be supported by educators and mentors online. [Chris Harrison] We look forward to you joining us on the course.

What topics will you cover?

  • Planning to gather evidence about your students’ learning
  • Planning to address misconceptions
  • Collecting evidence to inform your teaching
  • Planning to respond to student understanding during lessons
  • Medium-term planning to respond to student understanding across lessons

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

What will you achieve?

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

  • Identify students' starting points and how to plan to move them forward successfully
  • Demonstrate how to make evidence informed judgements about your students
  • Apply a range of approaches to respond and adapt teaching during and in between lessons
  • Develop your planning for flexibility and evidence collecting opportunities, including addressing difficult areas and misconceptions

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 useful in applying assessment for learning approaches.

Who will you learn with?

Andrea  Mapplebeck

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

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

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?

National STEM Learning Centre

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.

Join this course

Start this course for free, upgrade for extra benefits, or buy Unlimited to access this course and hundreds of other short courses for a year.


Join free and you will get:

  • Access to this course for 7 weeks


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  • Access to this course for as long as it’s on FutureLearn
  • A print and digital Certificate of Achievement once you’re eligible

Unlimited (New!)
$269.99 for one year

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  • Access to this course, and hundreds of other FutureLearn short courses and tests for a year
  • A printable digital Certificate of Achievement on all short courses once you’re eligible
  • The freedom to keep access to any course you've achieved a digital Certificate of Achievement on, for as long as the course exists on FutureLearn
  • The flexibility to complete your choice of short courses in your own time within the year
Find out more about upgrades or Unlimited.