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Readings on assessment for learning

There is a wealth of reports and articles available concerning the principles and practices of formative assessment. We feature a key selection of them here. Some of these articles, where they have relevance, are also featured in other pages of this website.

OECD report: The Nature of Learning: Using research to inspire practice

Three teachers.

The recent OECD project titled Innovative Learning Environments has put together a volume called The Nature of Learning: Using research to inspire practice. This is based on extensive research findings on different aspects of learning and applications. It provides a powerful knowledge base for the design of learning environments for the 21st century.

This downloadable booklet is a summary of The Nature of Learning, highlighting the core messages and principles for practitioners, leaders, advisors and policy makers. The principles outlined are guides to inform everyday experiences in current classrooms, as well as future educational programmes and systems.

When you look at the seven principles, you'll see that Assessment for Learning is at number 6, a key message for educators about its importance .

Check out this New Zealand Curriculum Online blog about The Seven Principles of Learning.

And you can analyse how well your learning environment reflects what is known from current research using this chart, developed by Ellen Hauser and Bernadette Pearce, Sandhurst Catholic Education Office, Wagga Wagga, Australia.

Word 2007 icon. Seven learning principles chart (Word 2007 107 KB)

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"Black Box" articles – on Assessment for Learning

 
Inside the Black Box: Raising Standards Through Classroom Assessment. Paul Black and Dylan Wiliam. King's College London, 1998.

Testing, Motivation and Learning 
Testing, Motivation and Learning: Assessment Reform Group, 2002.

Assessment for Learning: 10 Principles
Assessment for Learning: 10 Principles, Assessment Reform Group, 2002.

The Black Box Assessment for Learning Series, edited by Paul Black, Christine Harrison, Bethan Marshall, and Dylan Wiliam, King’s College London has been written to apply to specific curriculum areas.. These resources are not available online. Details of the titles available are listed on the Assessment Online publications page.

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Formative assessment videos

These online videos feature Dylan Wiliam, one of the gurus of assessment for learning, talking about a range of formative assessment aspects. In them he reviews the nature of formative assessment and how teachers can use it to gain better insights into student learning and achievement. These videos are all available on YouTube. 

A good place to start is to watch Dylan Wiliam outline five key assessment strategies and how they interconnect. Listen as he describes the roles and relationships of teachers, learners and their peers. 

View videos on YouTube.

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Visible Learning

John Hattie

In these two You Tube presentations, John Hattie, at present director of the Melbourne Education Research Institute, discusses the principles and practices of effective teaching and learning, explored in detail in his influential book Visible Learning (2008).

View the videos:

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Assessment: Feedback to promote student learning

Dorothy Spiller (2009)

This article from the Teaching Development Unit of the University of Waikato examines some of the issues associated with feedback on assessment and provides some guidelines for effective practice.

Read more »

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Assessment Through the Student's Eyes

Rick Stiggins 

Rick Stiggins argues that our mission compels us to embrace a new vision of assessment that can tap the wellspring of confidence, motivation, and learning potential that resides within every student. To enable all students to experience the productive emotional dynamics of winning, we need to move from exclusive reliance on assessment that verifies learning to the use of assessment that supports learning — that is, assessment for learning.

Read more »

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Learners in the driving seat

Chris Watkins

Who is responsible for students’ learning? This 2009 article by Chris Watkins from the UK looks at how young people themselves can take the lead – and the excellent results that can follow. Although the assessment regime in the UK is very different from that in New Zealand, the principles of self-regulated learning apply in both contexts.

Read more »

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Learning to love assessment 

Carol Ann Tomlinson

From judging performance to guiding students to shaping instruction to informing learning, coming to grips with informative assessment has been an insightful journey for Carol Ann Tomlinson, one of the gurus of differentiated learning.

Read more »

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Student Engagement in the Middle Years of Schooling (years 7–10): A Literature Review

Robyn Gibbs and Dr Jenny Poskitt

Student Engagement in the Middle Years of Schooling (years 7–10): A Literature Review

This research report looks into the relationship between student engagement and student achievement, and considers what teachers can do to raise levels of student engagement within their year 7 to 10 classes and schools. This report features here because many of the 'answers' to the vexed question of student engagement focus on the practices of formative assessment.

Read more »

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Using Classroom Data to give Systematic Feedback to Students to Improve Learning

Carol Dwyer and Dylan Wiliam

How can teachers capitalize on evidence about student learning that is generated in their classrooms every day? How can this information best be collected and used to increase student learning?

This webpage provides a summary of how best to provide feedback to students, on the website of the American Psychological Society. Reinforces the main ideas in Dylan Wiliam’s work.

Read more »