Embedding Assessment for Learning

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					‘Embedding’ Assessment for
   Tameside Excellence Cluster
       January 22nd 2008
          Ruth Sutton
  What do we mean by ‘embedding’ AFL?

• Assessment for Learning is a set of principles
  that apply to any assessment process
• In a school, assessment can be about
- The assessment of pupils
- The assessment of teachers
- The assessment of the school as a whole
- In each case, AFL is about not merely finding
  out about strengths and needs, but then using
  the information in such a way that learning and
  development are supported and encouraged
     Some questions arise…..
• In the classroom, how do teachers and pupils
  use assessment to improve learning, not just to
  measure it?
• Teachers are adult learners: how is assessment
  of them used as part of professional
• How does the school inspection process – the
  SEF not just the OFSTED visit – promote and
  encourage school improvement?
               My task and intent
• To help you identify your school’s starting point and develop a plan
  for the future
• To remind us of the goals of AFL and how they apply to both young
  and adult learners, and to the school as a whole
• To make connections to OFSTED and the SEF
• To focus on involving learners and supporting their independence
• To plan for sustainability

• To recognise that AFL is a multi-level process – pupils, teachers,
   and the school as a whole
      What’s on your minds?
• Introduce yourselves, and have a think
  about one aspect of AFL you’d like us to
  focus on today
• I will try to adjust our programme to meet
  your needs
   Assessment: 2 Key Purposes
Assessment of learning         Assessment for learning

Checks learning to date        Suggests next learning
Audience beyond the classroom Audience is teachers and
Periodic                         learners
                               Continual – conversation and
Uses numbers, scores and
   grades                      Specific feedback, using words
Criterion/standards referenced Self-referenced, ‘ipsative’
No need to involve the learner Must involve the learner – the
                                 person most able to
                                 improve learning
            The Big 5 Principles
     (identified by the UK Assessment Reform

1.   “The active involvement of students in their own learning
2.   Adjusting teaching to take account of the results of
3.   Recognition of the profound influence assessment has
     on the motivation and self-esteem of pupils, both of
     which are crucial influences on learning
4.   The need for students to be able to assess themselves
     and understand how to improve
5.   The provision of effective feedback to students”
    Here’s what the experts say:
   effective feedback should be..
• Specific
• Connected to clear criteria
• Timely: received and acted
  upon as soon as possible
• Indicative of next steps
• Followed through
• ‘Descriptive’ rather than
       What’s the difference between
        ‘descriptive’, and ‘evaluative’?
Descriptive                Evaluative
• Facts, not judgements    • Judgements, without specific
                           • General and overall, rather
• Explicitly related to      than relating to specific
  clear shared criteria      criteria
                           • Usually numbers (scores,
                             grades) but can be words
• Usually in words           too, eg.
                             ‘Good job’
                           • Provides general goals, eg
• Includes specific next     ‘Pay attention to punctuation’
  steps                      but not specific advice
   Intrinsic motivation: the key features for
  teachers and schools as well as students
                     Self efficacy

     Feedback                          Locus of control
for Self Awareness                   As close to self as possible


         Making Connections
• AFL is integral to other current priorities:
  how do we connect AFL principles to
- Personalised learning?
- Every Child Matters?
- OFSTED’s focus on pupil learning and
  school self-review?
- What’s happening in other parts of the
          The Five Themes of
         Personalised Learning
• Assessment for Learning
• Effective teaching and learning
• Curriculum entitlement and
• Organising the school
• Beyond the classroom
        Every Child Matters
• More slogans…..
• What are the key pints of ECM?
     OFSTED framework, since
        September 2005
• Increased focus on learning rather than
• What are the implications for classroom
• The SEF and ‘School Review for Learning’
  Winnipeg Inner City’s ‘Ten Steps’

1. Teacher is clear about ‘task and intent’
2. Teacher knows how to ‘state, share and show’ learning expectations
3. Teacher designs and explains ‘enabling tasks’ (ie, tasks that enable
    the student to learn what we want them to learn)
4. Teacher and students develop criteria
5. Students check their work, while the task is in progress
6. Students say what’s OK and what’s not
7. Students identify a next step
8. Students continue, or correct work so far
9. Students reflect periodically on what they’ve learned, and how they
    learned it
10. Students present learning and achievement to an audience
       Ten steps – actions help us
1.   Task            6. Look and check
2.   Purpose         7. Idea for improvement
3.   Share           8. Step towards
4.   Steps           9. Reflect
5.   Work            10. Celebrate
       AFL and data tracking
• Detailed data tracking wasn’t part of the
  original AFL principles: it was introduced
  by the DfES to make use of the detailed
  data generated by the SATs
• Data tracking is more about Assessment
  for Teaching, not Assessment for Learning
• The key feature of AFL is the involvement
  of the pupils: knowing their level doesn’t
  necessarily help them at all
   AFL affects all the basics of teaching:
     planning, questioning, marking
• Assessment for Learning is not an
  initiative, a strategy, or even a technique
• AFL is a different approach to teaching,
  with the focus on the involvement of the
• The goal is the release of the intrinsic
  motivation of learners, which may have
  been stultified by ‘schooling’
          AFL in the early years

• Many early childhood educators
  use AFL strategies as an intuition
• Be explicit about ‘criteria’ eg
  lining up, story time, printing
• Display criteria in both words and
  symbols and pictures
• Encourage children to apply the
  criteria to their own and each
  others’ actions
        Engaging the children

• Photos to
  illustrate criteria
• Children love to
  see photos of
    A simple rubric: a matrix of
    expectations, using words,

               Excellent   Good   Satisfactory

S      1.
E      2.
T      3.
Involving pupils in the assessment process:
      developing criteria; self and peer

• In a small group, with people who teach
  the same age group:
• What are you already doing to develop
  criteria, for and with your pupils?
• How do you prepare your pupils for peer
  and self assessment?
• Share your struggles as well as your
     Use exemplars to explain and
          illustrate learning
• Abstract explanations of learning expectations are often
  too vague for students
• Use a few examples from previous students to illustrate
  what their work looked like at various stages, or just on
• Encourage students to examine the exemplars and work
  out why and how some were more successful than
• You could discuss these characteristics or develop them
  into a rubric
• While your class’s work is in progress, stop them
  occasionally to critique their own and each other’s work
  against these characteristics and correct as they go
                               ‘Art Talk’
•    This strategy is used in Art, but it could be used in any area where there is
     something visual to look at
1.   Agree the criteria for the work and get the students working
2.   Close to the end, but before they finish, ask them to display their work – without
     any names – on the walls, or on tables, or even on the floor
3.   Number the items so you can refer to them by number, not by name
4.   All the students then look at all the pieces but they don’t provide feedback
5.   The teacher then asks carefully designed questions, encouraging students to
     connect the criteria with characteristics of the work they have been looking at. The
     teachers doesn’t ‘evaluate’ the work using language like ‘This is good’, or ‘Which
     examples do you like?’. The questions are about the criteria and how they have
     been applied.
6.   After some discussion the students are asked to take their work back and work on
     it for a little longer. Most of them will then correct and add to what they’ve done.
     Some may want to start again: use your discretion about this

If it’s well managed – using description not evaluation – this process
        gives students the opportunity to learn from each other without
        losing face
                   A caution
• Some groups of students may have a climate of put
  downs and undermining each other
• Be clear with them that you will only allow them to
  use peer critique and correction when they have
  shown you that they can handle it. Present the
  strategy as an adult skill that you expect them to
  learn. Make them work for the right to be involved in
  this way.
• Model the behaviours yourself and comment on the
  behaviours when you see them. Keep the
  atmosphere positive but still challenging
     Another look at ‘marking’
• What’s the purpose?
• How much time does it take?
• Is what we do truly time-effective?
          Think, pair, share
• Reflect on the marking and feedback you
  provide to your pupils, or you have seen in
  your school
• Which marking and feedback strategies
  seem to be the most effective, and why?
• What are the barriers to changing marking,
  and how could these barriers be reduced?
   An AFL approach to marking
• Teachers clarifies and shares expectations and criteria
  for the assignment
• Students do the work and hand it in
• Teacher uses one colour highlighter to circle bits of the
  work that meet the criteria and a different colour to circle
  bits that need correction, and returns the work
• Students are given a given time in a small group to work
  out why the teacher has circled different parts of their
  work, and how to improve where necessary
• Then students, on their own, given time to do the
  corrections, straight away, in class
• How does teachers’ classroom
  questioning connect with Assessment for
• Which questioning strategies need to be
  embedded in our classroom practice?
An AFL approach to questioning

Students raise their hand to ask a question, not to answer
The teacher asks a good question, allows thinking time
  and possibly small group discussion and then chooses
  who should respond to the question
Every student has to be prepared to answer, even if they’re
  not sure. Teacher will ask more questions to check out
  the thinking
Questioning is now part of AFL and designed to improve
  thinking skills and students’ engagement.
The teacher has greater control over classroom interaction
  Three Stages of ‘Transformation’
• Stage One: starting off
Interested teachers try out new strategies and
  share them with colleagues
• Stage Two: consolidation and spread
More teachers involved and some practice well-
• Stage Three: sustained change, AFL embedded
AFL strategies are the norm across the school, for
  adults as well as students. AFL strategies also
  underpin school self-review
What does it look like when AFL is
• What will teachers be doing?
• What will pupils be doing?
• How will other aspects of the school (such
  as professional development, teacher
  evaluation, developing the SEF, reporting
  and parents’ evenings) reflect and support
  AFL principles?
       ‘Assessment Sunshine’: a song to help
                    us remember
         (The tune is ‘You are my sunshine’)

•   First thing we need, dear, is clear objectives
•   So students know what they’re trying to learn
•   Share the criteria, provide great feedback
•   And success you all will earn
•   Our classroom focus is on the learning
•   Not just the ‘levels’ or the test
•   We give our students responsibility
•   And they reward us with their best
•   We have techniques dear, to raise achievement
•   We ask great questions, to find the clues
•   Then we adjust our next steps in teaching
•   And reduce those classroom blues
•   ‘What’s in it for us?’, I hear you asking
•   ‘Why should I bother, with all this stuff?’
•   Student involvement makes learning faster
•   And behaviour’s not so rough
              LAST VERSE!
•   So there we have it, feedback for learning
•   We know it works, so why not try
•   Ten Steps to Heaven, in every classroom
•   Children’s learning hits the sky
        Planning for change
• One of the barriers to change is the power
  of habit
• AFL requires teachers to change some of
  their habits around basic classroom
  activity, such as planning, questioning and
• The school has habits, too, in the way it
  does business, which may also need to
        Brain theory and habits:
            The 3 part brain
• The neo-cortex:
  useful for
• The reptilian brain:
  useful for Saturday
• The limbic brain:
  useful for changing
      From ‘knowing’ to ‘doing’
• The practices of teaching
   and schooling are deeply
   ingrained or ‘hard-wired’
• Habits are formed and
   changed in the limbic brain
   not the neo-cortex
• They can only be changed
   through the limbic brain, by
 ‘Practice, feedback, practice’
     Changing habits – according to
     ‘Addiction Theory’ (Proshaska)
•   Pre-contemplation
•   Contemplation
•   First step
•   Discomfort and
•   Practice
•   Confidence
•   New habit
•   Coach someone else
    The Weightwatchers’ Model

• The Weight-watchers model for improving
  teaching (and leadership) involves:
Big, important, agreed goals
Small steps and continual feedback
Collegial support and accountability
Recognition of success

How important is collegial support: can
  individual teachers make change alone?
      What we’ve learned about
     ‘embedding’ AFL in schools
• While we go through these ideas, think
  about the implications for your own school,
  or your own classroom…………….
   Slow Knowing, Slow Growing

• Use the limbic brain
  (experience, emotion) not the
  neo-cortex when habits need
  to change
• It helps to choose a strategy
  to try with a group or a ‘topic’
  you are comfortable with, and
  practice, practice, practice
• When you feel confident,
  spread the strategy to other
  areas of your work
      Adult Learning Principles
• The principles of Adult
  Learning have to be
  respected for sustainable
  change in teaching and
Recognition of prior experience
Flexibility around learning style
  ‘Plain language, specific examples’
• Keep your discussions focussed on
  learning and as avoid jargon and
  euphemisms as much as you can
• Pupils find concrete examples helpful:
  so do teachers and parents
        Periodic refreshment
• The people who start change off may
  understand what they’re doing and why, but
  when they move on and are replaced, what
• The goals and strategy of the ‘new’ procedures
  need regular refreshment
• Is everyone in your school clear about what AFL
  is really about
    What’s in it for Teachers?
• We often talk about the benefits for
  children in AFL: what are the possible
  benefits for teachers?
       Distribute the Leadership

• It takes more than a single
  leader to drive and sustain
  classroom change
• Who might be persuaded
  to take a leadership role:
  what‟s in it for them?
• How do „change teams‟
  work, to be successful?
    Strategic leadership weaves
         initiatives together

• AFL is being treated as an ‘initiative’
  even though it’s more like an approach
  to teaching and learning
• In your school, do you see the
  connections between AFL, Personalised
  Learning, ECM and OFSTED?
      ‘Learning Conversations’

• ‘Learning Conversations’ matter,
  at all levels in the school:
Active listening
Questions designed to help
Clear outcomes leading to action
• How are „Learning
  Conversations‟ encouraged in
  your school?
           So…. What next?
1. Be clear about your starting point: what are
   you already knowing well, and what do want to
   focus on next?
2. Try to visualise as explicitly as you can what
   the success criteria will be for this focus
3. Think about the other things going on in your
   school or classroom: How can you make
   positive connections with these other
4. If something might obstruct your progress, how
   might you limit the damage?
            Next steps
Action   By whom   With whom By when
        Individual decisions
• Your own next steps
• Be VERY specific
• Have we completed the task?
• Do you have some practical
  ways forward?
• Thanks for being here!
January 2008