Since easter 2016 I have been designing and delivering a Masters module at UCL IOE entitled Assessment for Learning. These post outline aspects of the course.
The Purpose: Aims and Rationale
Assessment is a highly problematic and divisive concept within education, with its purpose, process and product continuing to be a globally debated topic. Over the last few decades this debate has contributed to a separation of assessment within education between Assessment of Learning, Assessment for Learning and an emerging distinction of Assessment as Learning. But meanings associated with these terms, AfL and AaL in particular, have varied widely, as have claims concerning their effectiveness. What is clearly evident is that the debate is far from over and as we continue to realign our systems of formal education with the changing nature of our world the debate is likely to lead to a greater divergence in thought.
This module aims to explore the concept of Assessment for Learning; posing questions like ‘What is assessment?’ and ‘What is effective learning?’, ‘Assessment for whom?’ and ‘How can assessment support effective learning within the classroom and lifelong-lifewide?’ in order to expose a range of possible co-constructed answers. Although we will explore different approaches to implementing, practicing, and facilitating Assessment for Learning at the levels of purpose, process and product, the goal is not to equip you with the ‘tricks of the trade’ but to help you to be able to think deeply and critically about the fundamental principles involved. From this informed standpoint we will collaboratively explore the future of formative assessment practice, in particular the notion of Assessment as Learning.
Assessment for Learning Themes
- What do assessment, learning, and assessment for learning mean?
- What are the purposes, processes and products of assessment for learning?
- What role do teachers and learners play within the process of assessment for learning?
- How should we judge the quality of assessment for learning?
- Does assessment for learning work?
- What should be the future of assessment for learning?
The Process: Pedagogy
The emphasis in this module is on engaging critically with assessment and learning issues, to facilitate new ways to think about them, based on a rich variety of literature and through reflection of our own practices as educators and learners. As a group we will seek to work cooperatively and collaboratively to co-construct our understanding of assessment for learning in its various forms.Recognising that learning is a social activity with social purposes, within this module participants will be encouraged to learn with and because of one another. Not only will you enhance your understanding of effective learning, assessment for learning, and write collaboratively, but you will also work together to assess one another’s emerging understating throughout the module. In essence we will experience and learn through an application of both AfL’s and CGL’s core principles.
Sessions will comprise:
- Participant led discussion around literature/research;
- Facilitator led Master Classes;
- Collaborative Group Learning activities;
- Individual reflection through meta-journaling; and
- Assessment for Learning activities in support of the final assignment.