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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. The 'Black Box' articles and online presentations are collected together, and you can link to them from the boxes below.

In conversation with John Hattie

Educational Leaders reports on the Spring 2013 issue of the Ontario Ministry of Education paper In Conversation, which is an interview with Professor John Hattie entitled Know Thy Impact: Teaching, Learning and Leading.  In this, Professor Hattie sets out eight mind frames for leaders and teachers from his research and book on ‘visible learning’. Much of this discussion focuses on how the attitudes and actions of teachers, when assessing what is taking place in the classroom, can best be framed to increase the focus on the process of learning.

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Seven Practices for Effective Learning

Educational Leaders highlights an Educational Leadership article by Jay McTighe and Ken O'Connor, available at the ASCD website. McTighe and O’Connor summarise the key assessment practices that improve teaching and learning, providing descriptions and examples of diagnostic, formative, and summative assessment. For each kind of assessment described, the authors provide a classroom-based example, making this a very accessible introduction to, and/or reminder of, effective assessment practice.

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Chris Watkins, Learners in the driving seat (2009)

PDF icon. Learners in the driving seat (PDF 149 KB)

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.

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Making Classroom Assessment Work, Ann Davies and Mary Hill, NZCER Press, Wellington, (2009)
In simple and easy to follow steps, Making Classroom Assessment Work shows how teachers can use assessment to boost learning.

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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.

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Student Engagement in the Middle Years of Schooling (Years 7-10): A Literature Review, Robyn Gibbs, Ministry of Education 2010

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.

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Research and Evaluation of Narrative Assessment (2010)

The Research and Evaluation of Narrative Assessment and Curriculum Exemplars for Students with Special Education Needs report (2010) was conducted over a three-year period (2007-2009). The purpose was to evaluate the development of exemplars and the introduction of professional development and learning for teachers in the use of learning stories, and also collect baseline data on current assessment practices used in primary and secondary schools for students with high and very high educational needs.

PDF icon. Research and Evaluation of Narrative Assessment (2010) (PDF 3 MB)

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National Education Findings of Assess to Learn (AtoL) Report
This report by Jenny Poskitt and Kerry Taylor, published in July 2008, describes the impact that the Ministry of Education’s professional development Assess to Learn (AtoL) project had on teachers, students, and schools in New Zealand.

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PDF icon. Learning to love assessment, Carol Ann Tomlinson (PDF 2 MB)

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. (Educational Leadership December 2007/January 2008)

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PDF icon. Rick Stiggins, Assessment through the Student's Eyes (PDF 397 KB)

In this article from Educational Leadership in May 2007, 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.

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Clarity in the Classroom, Michael Absolum, Hodder Education, Auckland, (2006)
With an emphasis on 'assessment for learning' principles, and well-developed learning-focused relationships, Clarity in the Classroom provides key strategies for developing effective and meaningful classroom practices.

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PDF icon. William, D., Keeping Learning on Track Formative assessment and the regulation of learning (PDF 130 KB)

In this 2004 paper, Dylan Wiliam outlines some of the research that suggests that focusing on the use of day-to-day formative assessment is one of the most powerful ways of improving learning in the mathematics classroom.