Assessment for Learning for Key Stages 1 & 2
When we hear the term ’assessment’, we often think of exams, tests, marks, stress and pass or fail. It is easy to view it as an end product that is separate from the learning and teaching process. This, however, is only one type of assessment: assessment of learning (summative assessment). It takes place after the learning and tells us what has been achieved.
Assessment for Learning (AfL), on the other hand, focuses on the learning process (rather than the end product) and attempts not to prove learning, but rather improve it. It is formative assessment. It is a way for us to take stock during the learning process and can help inform us of how the learning is progressing.
Summative assessment and AfL (formative assessment) are not opposing or contradictory practices. That is, the use of AfL in the classroom does not mean you will suddenly stop marking pupils’ work; summative assessment will always have a place in educational practice. Instead, they are complementary approaches, as the use of AfL can help pupils perform better on summative assessment tasks and summative assessment can refl ect the impact of AfL.
While the Revised Curriculum does not require you to integrate AfL practices into your classroom(s), we strongly recommend the use of AfL as best practice. The introduction and regular use of AfL in the classroom can help you to fulfi l other statutory components of the revised curriculum (like Thinking Skills and Personal Capabilities, Learning for Life and Work (at Key Stage 3), and Personal Development and Mutual Understanding (at Key Stages 1 and 2). In addition, AfL offers significant advantages for pupils.
- This document will:
- explain what AfL is;
- introduce its elements; and
- introduce some practical strategies to plan and promote AfL in your school/ classroom.