Assessment for Learning

(60 minutes)

This module focuses on Assessment for Learning strategies.

In this module you will: 

  • reflect on the role Assessment for Learning has on pupil outcomes 

  • identify the key strategies  

  • plan how to develop one of these 


(20 minutes)

Please read the notes and watch the brief video clips

Assessment for Learning (AfL) is an approach to teaching and learning that creates feedback which is then used to improve pupils’ performance.

AfL involves the following key actions:

  1. Sharing learning intentions

  1. Sharing and negotiating success criteria

  1. Giving feedback to pupils

  1. Effective questioning

  1. Encouraging pupils to assess and evaluate their own and others’ work

(Each of these are wide areas for study in themselves and will be explored in depth other Learning Modules).

AfL strategies involve pupils becoming more active participants in their learning. It is a focus of self-directed, pupil-centred and collaborative inquiry that focuses on the development of thinking skills through problem solving activities.

The difference between Assessment OF Learning and Assessment FOR Learning

Assessment OF Learning (Summative)

  • Happens after learning takes place

  • Information is gathered by the teacher

  • Information is usually transferred into marks

  • Comparison with performance of others

  • Looks back on past learning

Assessment FOR Learning (Formative)

  • An integral part of the learning process

  • Information is shared with learner

  • Information is available on quality of learning

  • Is linked to learning intentions and success criteria

  • Looks forward to the next stage of learning

Assessment OF Learning and Assessment FOR Learning are complementary approaches and AfL strategies need to be phased into practice over time.

AfL enables teachers and pupils to focus on three key questions

  1. Where are pupils now in their learning?

  1. Where are pupils going in their learning?

  1. How will pupils get to the next point in their learning?


(20 minutes)

Reflect on your own classes.

From the strategies identified in the notes and videos which do you find most challenging or would you find most challenging?

How could you positively address these challenges?


(20 minutes)

What will your next steps be? Take the opportunity to plan how you are going to use what you have learned in this session for future lesson planning.

  • What strategies for assessment for learning have you not focused on in your class?

  • Why not?

  • What one strategy could you prioritise for use in one specific class?

  • How would this improve pupil outcomes?

  • Plan how to implement this.

Further Reading and Support Materials