formative assessment

20 psychological principles for teachers #18 Formative & summative assessment

2015-06-29T13:55:30+01:00June 29th, 2015|psychology|

This is #18 in my series on the Top 20 Principles From Psychology for Teaching and Learning and the first of three posts examining how to assess students' progress: "Formative and summative assessments are both important and useful but require different approaches and interpretations." As I'm sure everyone knows, summative assessments are made to establish what students have learned and to provide a quantitative measurement of achievement. Formative assessments, on the other hand, are intended to establish how students are progressing and provide them with the support needed to arrive at their intended destination. Summative assessment takes place after instruction while formative assessment is [...]

What I got up to at the Wellington Festival of Education Part 1

2014-09-21T22:12:27+01:00June 22nd, 2014|learning|

Sadly, I missed most of the Friday. I spent the morning speaking at a maths conference (I know, right?) on correcting the mistakes made in the name of ‘numeracy across the curriculum’. If you’re interested, I argued that whilst numeracy has a pretty superficial connection with much that goes on in other subjects, mathematical thinking would be a far more powerful way to explicitly teach pupils to filter how they viewed the curriculum. I may blog on this at some point in the future. Then, channeling the spirit of the John Cleese film Clockwise I had to race across to Wellington [...]

Dylan Wiliam's defence of formative assessment

2014-04-25T09:03:19+01:00April 25th, 2014|assessment|

Back in March I wrote a post called Why AfL might be wrong, and what to do about it based, largely, on Dylan Wiliam's book Embedded Formative Assessment (If you haven't already read it, I encourage you to do so as many of the common misconceptions about AfL are specifically addressed). I'm pleased to report that Dylan has taken time out of his hectic schedule to comment on the post and defend the essentials of formative assessment. What follows is, in its entirety, the comment left on the original post. In his post on “Why AfL might be wrong, and what to [...]

How to subvert target grades

2014-07-23T15:27:05+01:00January 15th, 2012|assessment, Featured|

Target grades are good aren't they? They must be otherwise why would Ofsted be so damn keen on them. Consider this: how would Monsieur d'Ofsted respond when asking an unsuspecting student in your class whether they're achieving their target grade only to be told that their teacher didn't let them know what their target grade was? Doesn't bode well, does it? Here’s a somewhat contentious piece of information: if you grade (or level) students' work you are actively preventing that piece of work being used formatively. That's not right, you may be thinking, I can provide formative feedback on a piece [...]

What can engineers teach us about assessment?

2011-09-14T20:49:26+01:00September 14th, 2011|assessment|

If, like me, you thought the answer to the above question was almost certainly nothing, take a look at this: Pretty neat, huh? I think this really makes the point that a lot of what we do in schools and call AfL isn’t. Here are a few handy reminders about what exactly formative assessment is: We use the general term assessment to refer to all those activities undertaken by teachers—and by their students in assessing themselves—that provide information to be used as feedback to modify teaching and learning activities. Such assessment becomes formative assessment when the evidence is actually [...]

If you grade it, it's not formative assessment

2011-09-02T22:14:22+01:00September 2nd, 2011|assessment|

Having a bit of a crisis of confidence. Canadian teacher and education reformer, Joe Bower tweeted the title of the post this morning. That's not right I thought, I can provide formative feedback on a piece of work which helps students make progress whilst also giving them a grade as a useful signpost to measure their progress against. I took it upon myself to tell Joe as much. He sent me a link to Education's Rotten Apples which summarises Ruth Butler's research which shows that the damage of giving grades trumps feedback. It says, "What happens when states offer performance-based assessments, [...]

What's the point of assessment?

2011-08-22T12:10:55+01:00August 22nd, 2011|assessment|

Came across an interesting challenge by @purposeducation - #500words campaign, This week the topic is #purposedassess, so here goes... Everyone knows that there's two different types of assessment, right? There's summative assessment which is all about finding out whether students have learnt everything they've been taught. This is the kind of assessment that the media reports on and which schools are judged on. GCSEs, SATs, A levels etc. Then there's formative assessment, or Assessment for Learning as its been rebranded. This is all about finding out what kind of progress students are making. This is (hopefully) what goes on in classrooms [...]

Formative assessment and the mark scheme

2011-07-23T23:03:52+01:00July 23rd, 2011|assessment, English, learning, training|

I’ve been consciously and actively using exam board mark schemes as an essential component of formative assessment with my classes for some time now and thought it was time to share what I was up to more widely. I led a CPD session on this recently and while none of what I said was new or even particularly surprising, it did at least remind us what the point of marking all those essays is. Before putting my presentation together, I decided to check out what was out there already. Plenty of stuff on formative assessment but nothing specifically (nothing that I [...]

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