Assessment FOR Learning

What is assessment for learning?

“Assessment for learning is the process of seeking and interpreting evidence for use by learners and their teachers to decide where the learners are in their learning, where they need to go and how best to get there.”

Assessment Reform Group (2002)

The term assessment for learning is used commonly in other countries to mean what the U.S. is coming to understand as formative assessment:  a pedagogic process where teachers and students evaluate learning while the learning is occurring. Learner agency is front and center. When assessment is used to regulate one’s own thinking and understanding, assessment is being used to support and advance learning.

A Learning Moment Video

In this three-minute video, national formative assessment expert Margaret Heritage explains how the phrases Assessment OF learning and Assessment FOR learning are understood, and the origin of the term formative assessment.

We’ve assembled more resources for this topic below.

“Assessment for Learning Research Summary”, The Open Resource Bank for Interactive Teaching, University of Cambridge

This resource is part of the DfES resource “Pedagogy and Practice: Teaching and Learning in Secondary Schools” and is a product of the Department of Education, UK.  It includes links to the original "Inside the Black Box" research publications.

Assessment For Learning: 10 Principles 

This site offers a free download of the poster produced by the Assessment Reform Group (ARG) in 2002, which summarizes the key features resulting from research into Assessment for Learning.

Assessment for Learning in STEM Teaching: online course from the National STEM Learning Centre

This free, online course is designed for K-12 STEM teachers. It features Christine Harrison, Andrea Mappleback, and Dylan Wiliam.

Interview Question 1–Margaret Heritage (2/13/17)

Margaret Heritage defines formative assessment.

Interview Question 4–James Pellegrino (12/16/16)

James Pellegrino provides insight into the research which shows students can learn more effectively in classrooms using the formative assessment process.

Reaping the Benefits of Deep Formative Assessment Lessons from Around the World-FAST SCASS Summary Report-June 2016

This paper presents some of the benefits of using formative assessment practices.

Shirley Clark’s Website for Formative Assessment

Shirley Clark’s website is designed to support teachers in using formative assessment practices. This page highlights useful online resources. 

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