To overcome this obstruction and support learning, the process of developing thinking and assessment for learning (Fall) has been implemented into the primary setting. Throughout this essay, Fall and strategies enforced will be critically evaluated and the effectiveness for learners and teachers will be focused upon. ‘At the heart of Assessment for learning is the process of finding out where learners are within the continuum, where they need to go and how best to get there’ (DECALS, Bibb).
Within the primary setting it can be recognized as formative assessment.
Despite the implementation of Fall, teachers confuse this with assessment of learning. Teachers have tended to enforce summarize assessment rather than formative assessment. To achieve effectiveness from learners, it should be clarifying whether they are making progress and supporting their next steps. The Education of Scotland (2006) acknowledges that there has been fundamental changes in the way that schools think about the role and nature of assessment.
There is a growing acceptance that where assessments used as a formative element of classroom work, learning and attainment can be significantly enhanced.
Formative assessment should be enforced for achievement, schools should choose material, meeting specific needs of the earners and furthering their education throughout their lives. ‘Assessment and testing have a strong effect on the lives and careers of young people’ (Assessment Reform Group, 2003). Therefore, Fall will affect teachers but the effects on learners will have impacts on their adult lives.
During BASE, although Fall is important, it seemed to drive the curriculum rather than focusing on aspects of danger e. G. Emotional and social areas, impacting on learning. These need to be secure first, in order for learners to move forward within their education. One of the main roles of Fall is to facilitate learning. There has been conscious efforts to maximize time spent on formative tasks, allowing learners to benefit taking part in activities, developing them later on in life. This gives opportunities to reflect on the guidance given and assess themselves in future careers.
Learners have opportunities to assess themselves during the day, throughout BASE, traffic light systems with learners pictures was enforced as a behavioral strategy however, for future planning this can be used during a plenary to show how well learners understood what was taught e. G. Green meaning understand ND red meaning needing help. From previous experiences, understanding has been shown through the thumbs up, thumbs down technique, however, the validity is questioned during whole class sessions as learners may feel pressured by others to say they understand. Lindsay and Clarke (2001, p. 5), describe formative assessment building a ‘constructivist’ classroom in which children are involved in ‘creating and reflecting on their learning’. From a Constructivism’s point of view, Fall is effective for allowing learners to become pro-active in building up knowledge they gain from their own experiences. This in turn, allows them to evaluate their own learning, improving confidence and skills as lifelong learners. E. C Wrong, (1993) suggest ‘teachers must develop teaching strategies which not only transmit information, but also encourage children to learn independently and as a member of a group’.
To acknowledge the effectiveness of Fall_, strategies have been implemented that will be evaluated to see whether they have positive effects on learning and teaching. This is essential, there is a variety of strategies to improve learning, however, teachers need to implement these strategies; hinging about abilities within the classroom for them to be enforced appropriately, as some learners process information slower than others and therefore could work better independently rather than in a group, feeling peer pressured.
The four main Fall strategies are questioning, feedback, sharing criteria and self assessment. In this essay, the strategies that will be critically evaluated are questioning and feedback. Firstly the Education of Scotland (2006) suggest that ‘for formative assessment to be effective, teachers need to focus on how children are learning. They need to get inside children’s heads, to connect tit their thinking and feelings Questioning benefits teachers, allowing opportunities to probe further however, it is questioned because how can such thing as ‘ getting inside the children’s heads’ be possible.
It is argued that, you can target questions to the abilities of some learners however, you cannot identify how a child may be feeling or whether any social/ emotional impacts they may be facing could influence how they answer. Teachers need to enforce Fall, being aware of contexts influencing learners to answer correctly and achieving higher than the day before where they may have been at a lower ability due to sack of sleep e. G.
Although, in previous experiences, implementing questioning through the use of lollipop sticks where learners are ‘picked’ at random and questions were targeted at their ability, proved effective for both learners and teachers. Questioning is important and so is allowing enough thinking (wait) so learners have opportunities to think about questions and reflect before giving their answer so they have full understanding. Black et al (2007) found benefits of giving thinking time has shown that answers given are generally longer and responses were more confident.
Also, he found that learners working together improved the answers of others. From BASE, giving learners time to think has been appropriate in achieving a superior answer. However, disagreeing with learners working together improve their learning, as there could be a lower ability learner being influenced by more able learners, impacting on their confidence, making them feel their answer is not as high-quality as others. This therefore affects the validity of targets given as they may not have understood.
Millard and Homes (2002) agree with this ‘highlighting that it is a risk to assume that a pupil understands a model or a concept on the basis of their answer to one question’. This shows that teacher to learner questioning is effective however, it should be appropriate to gain information they want as learners may feel less confident in whole class settings. Although, Harlan (2006) argues ‘as well as questioning referring to those questions asked by teachers’, she also identifies the ‘importance of pupils asking questions’.
This is effective for the implementation of Fall, benefiting learners; allowing them to ask their own questions, giving opportunities to reveal misconceptions and showing the limit of their understanding through their own ideas. It allows them to decide what they ask and provides opportunities to use prior knowledge to construct their question. This benefits teachers, allowing to see what understanding they already have. Further, it demonstrates how learners are achieving and what needs to be done to develop their learning to the next step.
Furthermore, another strategy is through the process of feedback. Feedback should not be grade focused, but should primarily enhance the learners further, showing them that they are able to improve and informing their next steps. However, one of the roles of feedback is peer and self-assessment, allowing them to not only assess themselves but have others assess them. Black and Harrison (2004) identify types of feedback which are ‘essential to formative assessment: the first is from student to teacher, the second from teacher to student.
Learning is effected by alternation between these, in which each contribution responds to the other. Both are effective, giving opportunities to clarify with one another, setting targets for future improvement. During BASE, immediate feedback was appropriate in improving learning. In future teaching, this will be used to develop knowledge and show there is room for improvement, giving positive feedback. Nicola & McFarland-Dick (2006) suggest that, feedback in particular, is promoted as the way of enhancing student achievement.
Feedback should enforce the importance of giving targets to improve. However, it should be immediate so learners know how to improve and have opportunities to correct their work. ‘Feedback given as rewards or grades enhances ego rather than task involvement. Feedback which focuses on what needs to be done can encourage all to believe that they can improve. A culture of success should be promoted where every student can make achievements by building on their previous performance, rather than being compared with others. The quote shows, that teachers can mix feedback with comparing learners with others, this could affect their confidence and therefore may not feel worshiped. This shows feedback is effective in implementing skills to improve. During BASE, feedback was effective in explaining what was wrong, however, the focus in today’s learning should be about promoting achievements. ‘Within classrooms, Fall should drive day-to-day assessment. This frequent and often informal assessment will operate as part of a ‘learning conversation’, to help each learner develop an understanding of his/her own progress’ (DECALS 201 Co).
In conclusion to this, Fall and strategies included are effective for learners and teachers, allowing learners to achieve through appropriate targets, focusing on specific abilities and allowing teachers to keep track, showing how to improve through the use of questioning and immediate feedback. However, the validity is challenged as the focus on education should not just be about driving Fall but focus on other impacts as well. Connors (1995) believes that ‘the golden rule of effective assessment is simple; it must be carried out for specific purpose, using methods suited to those purposes’.
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