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Assessment for Learning 
Elements, Theory, Strategies 
Durban University of Technology 
Dr Tansy Jessop 
Head of L&T @ Win...
Reflections 
 Think of a time when you felt you really had a 
powerful learning experience about something 
important 
 ...
TESTA Case Study X: what’s going on? 
 Mainly full-time lecturers 
 Plenty of varieties of assessment, no exams 
 Reaso...
Case Study Y: what’s going on? 
 35 summative assessments 
 No formative assessment specified in documents 
 Learning o...
Two paradigms…
Transmission Model
Social Constructivist model
Two paradigms 
Transmission model 
Expert to novice 
Planned & ‘delivered’ 
Feedback by experts 
Feedback to novices 
Priv...
Three concepts underlying AFL 
1. Risk 
2. Power 
3. Re-conceptualising 
teaching 
Sambell, K, McDowell, L. & 
Montgomery,...
AFL and formative assessment – the 
same thing? 
 AFL is a broader term 
 But AFL has lots of different schools of thoug...
Why do formative assessment? 
“Feedback is the single most influential factor in 
student learning” (Hattie 2009). 
“Innov...
Key word task 
 Jot down words that spring out at you from these 
definitions 
 In small groups, on flipchart paper, dra...
Definitions of formative assessment 
 Formative assessment is not an event or an instrument but 
a collection of practice...
More definitions 
Assessment of learning gives students marks, grades, scores; 
AFL gives qualitative insights about stude...
Yet more definitions 
Formative assessment hinges on developing students’ capacity 
to monitor the quality of their own wo...
Elements of AFL from formative 
definitions 
 Put up flipchart diagrams around the walls. 5 minute 
walkabout. 
 Favouri...
My pop theory of AFL 
•Tasks have real world context 
•Tasks are often public 
•Tasks are often negotiated or collaborativ...
TESTA case studies of AFL…
Students produce 
 Blogging in Education & American Studies 
 Staged formative process in Sports Studies 
 Multi-stage ...
Teachers and Students give feedback 
 Conversation starter: What feedback would you like on your 
work? 
 Joining the do...
Students evaluate the quality of work 
 Peer Review in Creative Writing 
 Drafting process on American Studies 
 Making...
Your ideas for your courses 
 Traffic light exercise: Red, Green, Amber 
 In pairs, in groups, in plenary 
 What will y...
Why formative matters 
1) Because it provides low-risk, more frequent opportunities 
for students to learn from feedback (...
References 
Black, P. and Wiliam, D. (1998) Inside the Black Box: Raising Standards through Classroom 
Assessment. King’s ...
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Assessment for learning

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Workshop session at Durban University Technology's Assessment for Learning Symposium.October 8th 2014

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Assessment for learning

  1. 1. Assessment for Learning Elements, Theory, Strategies Durban University of Technology Dr Tansy Jessop Head of L&T @ Winchester DUT Assessment Symposium 8 October 2014
  2. 2. Reflections  Think of a time when you felt you really had a powerful learning experience about something important  What were the circumstances?  Who? What? When? Why?  Turn to the person next to you and tell them about it.
  3. 3. TESTA Case Study X: what’s going on?  Mainly full-time lecturers  Plenty of varieties of assessment, no exams  Reasonable amount of formative assessment (14 x)  33 summative assessments  Masses of written feedback on assignments (15,000 words)  Learning outcomes and criteria clearly specified ….looks like a ‘model’ assessment environment But students:  Don’t put in a lot of effort and distribute their effort across few topics  Don’t think there is a lot of feedback or that it very useful, and don’t make use of it  Don’t think it is at all clear what the goals and standards are  …are unhappy
  4. 4. Case Study Y: what’s going on?  35 summative assessments  No formative assessment specified in documents  Learning outcomes and criteria wordy and woolly  Marking by connoisseurship, often tacit, professional judgements  Teaching staff mainly part-time and hourly paid ….looks like a problematic assessment environment But students:  Put in a lot of effort and distribute their effort across topics  Have a very clear idea of goals and standards  Are able to evaluate their work and have a good idea of how to ‘close the gap’
  5. 5. Two paradigms…
  6. 6. Transmission Model
  7. 7. Social Constructivist model
  8. 8. Two paradigms Transmission model Expert to novice Planned & ‘delivered’ Feedback by experts Feedback to novices Privatised Monologue Emphasis on measuring Competition Metaphor - machine Social constructivist model Participatory, democratic Messy and process-oriented Peer review Self-evaluation Social process Dialogue Emphasis on learning Collaboration Metaphor - the journey
  9. 9. Three concepts underlying AFL 1. Risk 2. Power 3. Re-conceptualising teaching Sambell, K, McDowell, L. & Montgomery, C. (2013) Assessment for Learning in Higher Education. London. Routledge. ISBN 978-0- 415-58658-0
  10. 10. AFL and formative assessment – the same thing?  AFL is a broader term  But AFL has lots of different schools of thought  Formative is central to AFL
  11. 11. Why do formative assessment? “Feedback is the single most influential factor in student learning” (Hattie 2009). “Innovations that include strengthening the practice of formative assessment produce significant and often substantial learning gains” (Black and Wiliam, 1998, p.40).
  12. 12. Key word task  Jot down words that spring out at you from these definitions  In small groups, on flipchart paper, draw a diagram that sums up what you see as the main elements of Assessment for learning
  13. 13. Definitions of formative assessment  Formative assessment is not an event or an instrument but a collection of practices which all lead to some action that improves learning (Black and Wiliam 1998).  Basic idea is simple – to contribute to student learning through the provision of information about performance (Yorke 2003).  A fine tuning mechanism for how and what we learn (Boud 2000)
  14. 14. More definitions Assessment of learning gives students marks, grades, scores; AFL gives qualitative insights about students’ understandings and misconceptions. Formative assessment is effective when it is timed so that the information can be used…. Formative helps students to internalise features of good work, showing them how to improve (Shephard 2005).
  15. 15. Yet more definitions Formative assessment hinges on developing students’ capacity to monitor the quality of their own work during production…. One of the indispensable conditions for improvement is that the students comes to hold a concept of quality similar to that held by the teacher (Sadler 1989). Formative tasks are ungraded, compulsory for everyone, and always elicit feedback (TESTA).
  16. 16. Elements of AFL from formative definitions  Put up flipchart diagrams around the walls. 5 minute walkabout.  Favourite and ‘like’ with green dots. Disagree with red dots. Be ambivalent with amber!  2 minute chat about what struck you in groups
  17. 17. My pop theory of AFL •Tasks have real world context •Tasks are often public •Tasks are often negotiated or collaborative Students produce •Feedback happens in time for adapting •Feedback is about the task not the person •Feedback suggests ways to improve Teachers and students give feedback •Students see examples of work •Students use criteria to judge •Students use self and peer review Students evaluate the quality of work
  18. 18. TESTA case studies of AFL…
  19. 19. Students produce  Blogging in Education & American Studies  Staged formative process in Sports Studies  Multi-stage formative to summative on Media degrees  Youtube seminar reading productions in Media Studies  E-portfolio and portfolio examples from Social work  Journal Club in Pharmacy Degree.  Ministerial briefs in Politics Degree.
  20. 20. Teachers and Students give feedback  Conversation starter: What feedback would you like on your work?  Joining the dots between feedback: the cyclical cover sheet  Law and Dance video tutorials – self and one-to-one tutor feedback.  Peer assessment triads  Blogging - face to face and online comments  Questions not answers – what if, have you thought of…  Traffic light systems
  21. 21. Students evaluate the quality of work  Peer Review in Creative Writing  Drafting process on American Studies  Making sense of criteria – ‘criteria crunching’  Engineering at Strathclyde  Economics at Oxford Brookes (ASKE CETL)
  22. 22. Your ideas for your courses  Traffic light exercise: Red, Green, Amber  In pairs, in groups, in plenary  What will you take away and integrate into your curriculum planning and teaching practice?
  23. 23. Why formative matters 1) Because it provides low-risk, more frequent opportunities for students to learn from feedback (Sadler, 1989) 2) Because it helps students to fine-tune and understand requirements and standards (Boud 2000, Nicol, 2006) 3) Because feedback to lecturers from formative tasks helps to adapt teaching (Hattie, 2009) 4) Because it engages students in cycles of reflection and collaboration (Biggs 2003; Nicol & McFarlane Dick 2006) 5) Because it encourages and distributes student effort (Gibbs 2004).
  24. 24. References Black, P. and Wiliam, D. (1998) Inside the Black Box: Raising Standards through Classroom Assessment. King’s College. London. Boud, D. (2000) Sustainable Assessment: Rethinking assessment for the learning society, Studies in Continuing Education, 22: 2, 151 — 167. Gibbs, G. & Simpson, C. (2004) Conditions under which assessment supports students' learning. Learning and Teaching in Higher Education. 1(1): 3-31. Hattie, J. (2007) The Power of Feedback. Review of Educational Research. 77(1) 81-112. Nicol, D. J. and McFarlane-Dick, D. (2006) Formative Assessment and Self-Regulated Learning: A Model and Seven Principles of Good Feedback Practice. Studies in Higher Education. 31(2): 199- 218. Jessop, T. , El Hakim, Y. and Gibbs, G. (2013) The whole is greater than the sum of its parts: a large-scale study of students’ learning in response to different assessment patterns. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education. ifirst. Sadler, D.R. (1989) Formative assessment and the design of instructional systems, Instructional Science, 18, 119-144. Shephard, L. (2005) Formative Assessment: Caveat Emptor. ETS International Conference. New York. Yorke, M. (2003) Formative assessment in higher education: Moves towards theory and the enhancement of pedagogic practice. Higher Education. 45

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