Critical Reflections On Classroom Practice And The Key Principles Of Assessment for Learning To Guide Classroom Practice

Essential Reflections On Classroom Apply And The Key Rules Of Evaluation for Studying To Information Classroom Apply


 “Evaluation in schooling should, at the start, serve the aim of supporting studying.”  (Black & Wiliam, 2004)

Evaluation is an important a part of any schooling as with out evaluation, the trainer doesn't know if their college students are studying, if there are misconceptions that want addressing or what path future classes ought to take.  There are two major types of evaluation – summative evaluation (of studying) and formative evaluation (for studying).  Summative evaluation encompasses actions such because the extra formal finish of unit testing, SATs, GCSEs and many others. by which studying is checked though not essentially acted on.  Formative evaluation can be known as Evaluation for Studying (AfL) as its goal is to drive the path of studying and make sure that instructing and studying is efficient. Creating an surroundings conducive to studying with the give attention to the method in addition to the efficiency is vital to trendy classroom apply; lecturers regularly assess the progress and understanding of their pupils whereas encouraging impartial studying and rising autonomy. By consistently checking studying, lecturers can regulate the tempo and content material of lesson with a view to finest meet the wants of all of the learners.  In comparison with summative evaluation, AfL is usually far more casual and instinctive. Nevertheless, it's an important and integral a part of each efficient classroom utilizing methods reminiscent of questioning, listening in to kids speaking collectively, self-evaluation, peer evaluation, discussions, observations and suggestions.  The productive marking of labor throughout and between classes can be an instance of AfL; if the duty is marked successfully and acted on swiftly by the pupil and, by influencing future classes, trainer then it's formative evaluation, driving instructing and studying.  Even exams may be formative in addition to summative if the trainer makes use of them to affect future classes.  For good lecturers, AfL is an instinctive sample of behaviours making certain that they perceive the place their class is in its studying journey in order that they will take the mandatory steps to maneuver them on in the direction of their vacation spot. 

My exploration of elements of AfL relies on studying and on a instructing placement in a blended yr four/5 class with an above common variety of kids on the SEND register.

For this project I'm focussing on two elements of AfL: the impression of efficient questioning on studying and; the significance of constructive suggestions.

How Efficient Use of Questioning can have a Vital Influence on Studying

For a very long time, cognitivism, in notably Piaget, was very influential inside schooling, with the main target being on a baby studying via actions and explorations in keeping with their age, with language merely being a method of expressing the stage they have been at,

 “The function of language in Piaget’s pondering was secondary to motion: thought derived from motion, and language was merely the medium of expression of that understanding.” (Myhill, 2006, p21)

Nevertheless, social constructivists, reminiscent of Vygotsky, believed that language is central to studying and that it's by verbalising our ideas and concepts that we study and develop new ideas and concepts; when an individual and discusses their concepts with others it helps to formulate and additional develop that concept. Via verbal interactions with different individuals our understanding may be altered and clarified. (Myhill, 2006).  For Piaget thought results in language however Vygotsky proposed that language develops ideas; over the previous few many years this view of pondering has turn out to be extra prevalent inside schooling with lecturers valuing the contribution of classroom discuss to kids’s cognitive in addition to social growth.

One central side of classroom discuss which, when used successfully, can actually drive studying is the efficient use of questioning.  Questioning is essential within the classroom as a result of it not solely checks studying however encourages kids to turn out to be concerned in critically analysing and exploring their very own and one another’s concepts.

Although my time in colleges, I've witnessed varied sorts and conditions the place questioning was used successfully to evaluate and steer studying.

In a science lesson I noticed (Appendix 1) the trainer used open and comply with up questions successfully to not solely assess what prior data the youngsters had but in addition to assist information the youngsters in the direction of ‘discoveries’ concerning the subject which they hadn’t recognized beforehand.  She had clearly deliberate the questions to do that, however the kids felt that they have been working issues out collectively.  The lesson was on states of matter and the questions began with a closed query, “Are you able to title a stable?”  As soon as one baby had given a suggestion (glass) she adopted up with questions designed to make them analyse, clarify and develop additional their ideas.  Typically there have been data gaps that might not be bridged with questions, however the trainer merely gave them sufficient data for the questioning to steer the thought course of additional.  Apparently, after some time the questions began to turn out to be two-way reasonably than simply the trainer asking and the youngsters answering.  The trainer listened to and appreciated all responses; reasonably than disregarding people who have been clearly unsuitable, she used additional inquiries to determine the misconceptions and assist the category work collectively to right them.

A questioning approach that I used to be launched to and used just a few occasions throughout my placement was the usage of a hinge query to evaluate studying throughout the enter a part of the lesson.  I attempted just a few totally different strategies earlier than I discovered probably the most appropriate for that cohort of kids.  The primary time I attempted, I used a ‘thumbs up/down’ method to see in the event that they felt that that they had understood, however looking back I consider that lots of them had chosen ‘thumbs up’ as a result of that's what they thought I needed to see reasonably than as a result of that they had really understood the lesson.  I then tried a multiple-choice hinge query, encouraging the youngsters to make use of their whiteboards to reply however was conscious that the much less assured kids have been considerably scared of getting it unsuitable so copied from a neighbour (Appendix 2 & Appendix three). The ultimate methodology that I attempted, which I felt labored significantly better was to make use of a multiple-choice query however get the youngsters to point their alternative by holding up 1,2 or three fingers, making their choice behind their backs and solely revealing once I stated, ‘Present me!’.  (Appendix four). When writing the questions, I attempted to make sure that the inaccurate solutions have been primarily based on a typical false impression (for instance including reasonably than multiplying) in order that I might see if any kids have been confused about this (Appendix 5).  I gave the youngsters just a few seconds to make their alternative earlier than exhibiting me. This methodology labored nicely as a result of all kids have been making their very own decisions and I might see in a short time if there have been any people that I wanted to offer extra assist to.  In doing this I learnt, considerably by likelihood, concerning the significance of giving the youngsters pondering time.  Having learn up on it extra since, I've come to understand simply how essential that is and, though it may be arduous to do, will make a concerted effort in my future profession to offer the youngsters these additional few seconds to formulate their solutions.  This could make sure that all kids can consider one thing to say and that it's extra considerate and thought upsetting than if they're rushed; it additionally permits me as a trainer a clearer alternative to evaluate data and understanding.  (Black, Harrison et al, 2004).

In observing a yr 2 English lesson (Appendix 6), I noticed kids utilizing questions successfully to know a personality previous to doing an article.  They have been finding out ‘George’s Marvellous Drugs’ and have been to retell the story from Grandma’s perspective.  The trainer took the function of Grandma and inspired the category to be interviewers.  On the finish of the ‘press convention’, she returned to being their trainer and requested the youngsters what Grandma had stated.  The kids then recalled what the trainer had stated, typically including their very own opinions, “She stated George was a horrible, imply little boy however she’s grumpy and nasty to everybody”.  Via this train the youngsters have been pushed to consider good questions and when feeding again it was clear that lots of them have been analysing and evaluating the trainer’s responses.  I felt that this was a really efficient use of questions as I felt that with out it, a lot of the kids would have struggled to actually think about the story from one other perspective. This methodology not solely helped them with the educational goal however gave them a degree of management and possession of their studying.

Efficient questioning pushes the educational on to the subsequent stage, both via offering the trainer with helpful formative evaluation data or although serving to kids to assume extra broadly and extra deeply about their concepts and understanding.  To do that, a trainer must assume, when planning a lesson, about how questioning will play an element within the lesson.  You will need to take into consideration the several types of questions that shall be used and to confer with Bloom’s taxonomy (Appendix 7) to make sure that the pondering concerned in answering will get progressively tougher.  In addition to making certain that questions are open, it is very important discover concepts additional with comply with up questions, both to authentic answerer or to different members of the category.  The data gleaned from these questions can then be fed into future planning (Hargreaves, Gipps & Pickering, 2014).   There are many totally different ways that can be utilized in a classroom to make questioning an efficient, integral a part of studying reminiscent of the usage of discuss companions, pondering time and creating an surroundings the place it’s okay to be unsuitable as a result of all solutions are legitimate and handled with respect.  A no hands-up approach (Black et al 2003) may be particularly efficient as far too typically it's all the time the identical kids providing up solutions and concepts – both as a result of they already know the reply or as a result of they're the extra assured kids.  As an alternative a randomising system, reminiscent of lolly-sticks, ensures that each one kids may be referred to as upon to reply and that each one solutions are legitimate.  Issuing discuss tokens may be one other efficient method of making certain extra full and equal participation.  Hopefully, via encouraging extra kids to take part, we may also help kids construct their confidence in addition to their data.

Constructive use of written suggestions to drive the instructions of classes and planning.

Many trainer have lengthy questioned whether or not the marking work is of any actual profit to the learner or whether or not it's actually an train undertaken for the good thing about the mother and father and SLT.  It is because, historically, work was marked in a method which assessed the usual however didn't give steerage to the pupil about the best way to enhance their work and that is nonetheless used far too typically in colleges. (Hargreaves, Gipps & Pickering, 2014).  This model of marking isn't actually helpful for a majority of pupils (Black & Wiliam, 2003) and if marking isn't driving studying then it's not serving a goal and so we have now an obligation to our learners to make sure that marking is constructive and productive.  Certainly, one of many ten options of AfL highlighted by the Evaluation Reform Group was that “learners ought to be receiving constructive steerage about the best way to enhance.” (ARG, 2002)

As Black and Wiliam (1998) noticed, suggestions must be particular to the work produced by that baby with recommendation on how they will enhance it additional.  Priceless marking supplies greater than an analysis of labor: it tells the kid what is sweet and why; it tells them what they should do to enhance additional; it evaluates work towards the educational goal and the success standards.  Crucially, kids additionally must obtain any written suggestions as quickly as potential after the precise lesson and be given the time to behave upon the steerage given to try to enhance their work.

A baby’s success in a job must be judged on whether or not they managed to attain the educational targets that have been set and a baby must know from the beginning what the intention is and what steps they should take to attain it.  This is the reason it's so essential to share studying targets and success standards with the youngsters from the very begin of the lesson (Black, Harrison & Lee, 2004).  Suggestions from trainer to scholar must be particular to the educational goal and success standards, the intention of it being to assist them perceive what they're studying, the best way to obtain it and what this can lead on to.   (Hattie & Timperley, 2007).

The purpose is a classroom ambiance of openness and sharing the place the youngsters know precisely what they're attempting to attain and studying to take the steps in the direction of attaining it.  Typically studying targets are solely shared in the beginning of the lesson or are one thing the youngsters write of their books then ignore; lecturers must reiterate them commonly and encourage the youngsters to confer with them.   Equally essential is choosing and sharing the success standards and inspiring the youngsters to maintain these within the forefront of their minds whereas they're finishing the duty.  One great way of doing that is to maintain each the educational goal and the success standards displayed someplace seen to the entire class all through the lesson.  Success standards will also be shared with the youngsters within the type of a grid that they full after they have completed their work and the trainer completes when marking.  I attempted this throughout my placement however discovered that, as a result of the youngsters weren't conversant in this, their confidence and accuracy in utilizing them was restricted.  So, I modified tactic, explaining the success standards to the category, leaving them displayed on the whiteboard and reminding  the youngsters continuously to confer with them.  I then printed out grids containing these similar success standards and used them once I was marking their work. This additionally allowed me to mark success standards which had been met verbally via dialogue with the kid, even when it was not evident of their written work (Appendix eight).

Marking is, nonetheless, just one small a part of suggestions.  Consultants reminiscent of Shirley Clarke (2014) have emphasised how suggestions is a continuing two-way course of with a variety of suggestions being one thing which fits unrecorded, from discussions at school to physique language.  This suggestions is vital to AfL as a trainer can study a lot from it.

 ‘I found that suggestions is strongest when it's from the scholar to the trainer… then instructing and studying may be synchronized and highly effective. (Hattie, 2012)

There is no such thing as a purpose why this suggestions can not even be recorded part of the marking course of, for instance when the trainer has acquired oral suggestions that the kid is assembly the educational targets (Appendix 9).  Codes, colored pens or feedback can all be used to file this ‘invisible’ suggestions.

Typically lecturers give attention to the spelling, grammar and presentation of a chunk of labor when marking reasonably than concentrating on whether or not the targets for that particular lesson have been met. Whereas these components are essential abilities to develop it may be good apply to maintain analysis of those separate from achievement of the success standards (Hargreaves, Gipps, Pickering, 2014).  A method of doing this which I witnessed in my placement was the usage of a ‘non-negotiable’ grid for the youngsters to self-assess towards earlier than handing work in (Appendix 10).  Every baby had their very own laminated copy of this grid to assist them to examine and edit their very own work, thus lowering the give attention to this when the trainer was marking.

Whereas efficient marking can encourage a pupil, ineffective marking can don't have any impact or perhaps a damaging impact on a baby’s angle to studying and to themselves as a learner.  A pupil who commonly will get work again with ‘nicely performed’ written on it might simply turn out to be complacent and reluctant to push themselves to take dangers and broaden or deepen their studying.  A learner who commonly sees their work suffixed with a protracted record of criticisms tends to have decrease confidence in relation to their capability to study and may simply write themselves off as being ‘no good at this’.  Clearly, this will throw up a dilemma for a trainer marking work as some work meets all the standards, and a few work meets none of it.  Marking from a viewpoint of ‘What Went Effectively’ and ‘Even Higher If’ reasonably than only a tick or a grade makes the educational specific, central and essential to the pupil.  (Black-Hawkins, Ok. & Cliff-Hodges, G, 2014)

As soon as a chunk of labor has been performed the learner wants the chance to learn and act on the suggestions (Appendix 11).  It's reasonably futile to make solutions about the best way to enhance with out giving the youngsters the prospect to behave on these solutions.  Thus, it is very important make time, as quickly as potential, for the youngsters to look again at marked work and try and edit and enhance on it.  This course of not solely embeds studying however provides worth by serving to the youngsters to know what they've performed nicely and the place they might have misconceptions.  As soon as they've tried to behave on the suggestions given in marking, the trainer must take the time to examine it once more and, if essential, give them additional suggestions.  Giving college students possession of their work via purpose setting, and suggestions particularly tied to attaining these objectives helps them develop their metacognitive abilities throughout the curriculum (Black & William, 2004)

In addition to guiding the learner on the best way to progress, marking also needs to be guiding the trainer with the planning of future classes or intervention teams.  It could be, on marking books or a take a look at, that the trainer spots that a majority of the learners have the identical false impression.  On this case there may be little or no level in transferring on to the subsequent stage with out addressing this.  It could be one thing which may be included into the beginning of the subsequent lesson, or it might be one thing which they really feel warrants an additional lesson to re-address this.  One instance I got here throughout on my placement was in maths.  We had performed a number of weeks on addition and subtraction masking quite a lot of totally different ways and strategies, most lately specializing in the column methodology and calculations involving carrying.  The category got an finish of block evaluation and it highlighted that whereas they have been typically very assured and safe utilizing the column methodology, different strategies, performed just a few weeks beforehand, appeared to have been forgotten.  So as to tackle this, I made a decision to do some refresher classes on these strategies reasonably than transferring on beginning multiplication because it was clear that the youngsters didn't have mastery of all the talents wanted (Appendix 12).


As we have now seen from this restricted exploration of AfL, it's basic to good apply within the classroom.  AfL allows a trainer to determine the educational wants of their class and plan to make sure that progress is made in a constructive studying surroundings.  AfL sees studying as a social exercise – kids are studying via expertise, via verbalisation, with peer and grownup help as essential.  Life abilities reminiscent of social interplay and teamwork are constructed upon.  By giving studying a goal and having excessive expectations of all learners, kids are extra engaged, motivated and assured.  Via involving learners in addition to lecturers within the studying course of a constructive studying tradition may be developed the place everybody takes accountability for driving studying. 


  • Black, P., et al (2003) Evaluation for Studying: Placing it into Apply OUP
  • Black, P., et al (2004) ‘Working Contained in the Black Field: AfL within the classroom’, Phi Delta Kappan, Sept 2004
  • Clarke, S., (2014) Excellent Formative Evaluation. Hodder Training Group
  • Fletcher-Wooden, H. et al ‘6 Inventive Methods to make use of Questions within the Classroom’ Guardian Trainer Community, October 2013.  Out there at
  • Hattie, J. (2012) Seen Studying for Academics, Routledge.
  • Hattie, J. & Timperley, H. (2007) The Energy of Suggestions
  • Corridor, G (2016) ‘The Significance of Questioning’ Garyhall, 17Sept. Out there at
  • Hargreaves et al (2018) ‘AfL’ in Cremin & Burnet (eds) Studying to Educate within the Main Faculty, Oxford: Routledge, pp 275-287
  • Myhill, D., Jones, S. & Hopper, R. (2006) Speaking, Listening, Studying: Efficient discuss within the Main Classroom.  OUP
  • Pollard, A. et al (2014) Reflective Educating in Faculties

Appendix 1 – Commentary of science lesson on states of matter – establishing prior data

The speech bubbles file a number of the questions that the trainer requested of the category to ascertain prior data and examine for misconceptions.

What are you able to inform me about solids/liquids/gasoline?

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