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Published on www.standards.dcsf.gov.

uk/NationalStrategies 03-Mar-2011

Assessment for Learning (AfL): Day-to-day assessment

Day-to-day assessment is a natural, integral and essential part of effective learning and teaching. Teachers and
children continually reflect on how learning is progressing, see where improvements can be made and identify the next
steps to take.

The interrelated strategies that should be part of everyday learning and teaching are:

• sharing and talking about learning objectives, learning outcomes and success criteria with children; clarifying
progression
• recognising that learning is often demonstrated through oral and written language and the academic
language required to show understanding has to be explicit and part of the sharing of learning objectives and
success criteria
• observing and listening to gather intelligence
• questioning and whole-class dialogue to check, probe and develop understanding
• explaining and modelling to clarify progression in key concepts and skills, demonstrate thinking processes
and exemplify quality
• giving oral and written feedback to support the evaluation of progress, clarify standards and help identify next
steps in learning
• planning for group talk, peer assessment and self-assessment to help children develop as independent
learners
• planning specific activities that give teachers an insight into the progress children are making, the standard
they have achieved and the obstacles to their progress.

Support for day-to-day assessment

Support for day-to-day assessment in mathematics and Support for day-to-day assessment in literacy provide links to
the Primary Framework's guidance on:

• targeting and tailoring learning to meet different needs


• planning and teaching sequences
• day-to-day assessment
• recording and tracking of progress.

These are the points where formative and more periodic assessments inform how you plan learning for children with
different learning and progression needs and inform your best use of Assessment for Learning (AfL).

It will link to areas of the Primary Framework that will help you address how to:

• establish age-related expectations


• ensure that you are building on prior learning
• maintain these expectations and progression
• judge the quality of and progress evident in children's learning outcomes
• intervene effectively using guided sessions to address specific needs
• track and monitor progress.

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Tracking and monitoring progress
The Pupil tracking tutorial supports schools in engaging colleagues across the whole school in a professional dialogue
about children's progress, groupings, expectations and appropriate use of interventions. The associated Pupil progress
tracking sheets for Key Stage 1 and 2 will help schools to identify children who are at risk of underachievement against
national standards.

Assessment as an integral part of learning and teaching

Assessment for Learning takes (AfL) place within teaching sequences and at the point of learning, for example at a
point of interaction between teacher and child or between children, or during a moment of personal reflection.

Developing assessment for learning is not about adding a collection of teaching strategies into an existing repertoire. It
is about reflecting on the impact of our teaching and being clear about what helps children learn and develop as
learners. This includes developing social and emotional as well as cognitive skills.

Assessment for Learning can seem deceptively simple. Many of its tools and classroom strategies are simple and easy
to implement. There are undoubtedly some gains to be made from the immediate use of approaches such as 'think,
pair, share' or providing written staged success criteria for children to refer to during peer assessment. However,
teachers who most successfully develop and refine their assessment for learning practice never lose sight of the fact
that assessment for learning is something happening in children's minds, and all their planning and interactions with
children aim to facilitate this.

Involving children in their learning

Children need to be proactive partners in the learning process. They need to be taught how to take responsibility for the
progress they make as independent learners able to work effectively with the teacher and with each other.

To do this, children need to feel that they are in a safe environment where they belong, that their opinions are valued,
and that there is a clear structure to their role in assessing their own learning.

We need to help children judge how well they are doing. This requires a shared understanding of:

• what children will learn


• what they will be able to do after they have learned it
• why they are learning - the big picture (sometimes a curricular target)
• when they will get opportunities to use and apply the learning (how their learning fits with other curricular
areas or their lives outside school)
• how to judge the quality of the outcome using success criteria (which clarify standards and small steps of
progression in key concepts and skills)
• what 'good' and 'even better' looks like, and how to evaluate how well they have done and what they could do
even better.

Helping children to be involved in their learning


• Share the learning objectives with them, using language they understand, and make links with prior learning.
The curricular learning objectives may be supplemented with language learning objectives.
• Discuss with the whole class and with groups what they will be able to do as a result of their learning.
• Clarify standards through explaining, modelling or providing examples of good work using understandable
success criteria to help them judge quality.
• Refer to the criteria throughout the teaching sequence, using teacher feedback, questioning and whole-class,
group and paired discussions.
• Review progress and achievement together, throughout and at the end of a teaching sequence.

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• Encourage children to identify for themselves when they have met success criteria.

Helping children with specific difficulties to be involved in their learning


It is important to ensure that all children can be involved in their own learning.

Without the appropriate opportunities to demonstrate independence, some children with special educational needs
become passive learners and can develop 'learned helplessness', not feeling able to take responsibility for their own
learning.

All children can be genuine partners in the learning process if the adults who work with them encourage the
development of independence and responsibility, not reliance on adult help.

Developing your practice

Teaching and learning review tables


These progression tables aim to help teachers develop aspects of Assessment for Learning (AfL) in lessons. They
describe practice through 'focusing' to 'enhancing' stages, where 'enhancing' is an outstanding level of practice.

Their focus is on evaluating the impact of teaching approaches rather than on making judgements about teachers'
competence.

They can be used in classroom-focused CPD activities to help teachers develop specific aspects of pedagogy through
self-evaluation. They can be used to capture evidence of progress with developing practice and its impact on learning,
derived from:

• discussions with the teacher and other adults


• discussions with children
• reviewing planning documentation
• scrutinising children's work.

The most widely used review sheet is 'Objective-led learning', often still used by teachers focusing on developing other
aspects of assessment for learning such as peer assessment (i.e. alongside the 'Peer assessment and self-
assessment' sheet).

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