As teachers,I believe it is very important to understand the difference between assessmentfor learning and assessment of learning. More often in our work we use assessmentof learning, however it is very vital to make a shift to an assessment forlearning. For efficient student learning we need to rethink our classroompractices and assessments that we have been conducting so far. The purposeof assessment of learning is usually summative in nature and is done at the endof a task or in the end of the year. Itacts more as an evidence of the student’s achievements that needs to beprovided to the parents and students or any other agency The emphasis shifts fromsummative to FORMATIVE assessment in Assessment for Learning.
The best part about assessment for learning isthat it identifies student’s needs individually or in groups. Assessment forlearning occurs throughout the learning process and helps teachers createdifferentiated teaching strategies and learning opportunities for helpingindividual students move forward in their learning. Assessment for learning also helps in providingimmediate feedback and direction to students. As a teacher, I constantly try tomake learning more meaningful for my students and try to understand ways tomake the learning outcomes stronger. And for that it is important that I shouldbe consistent in adapting my lesson plans, strategies, outcomes as per theneeds of my students. Assessment makes for an important tool through which Ican bridge the gap between my plans and their needs. AFL plays a key role in addressing the concernsof students with special needs or vulnerable groups. Success criteria goes handin hand with AFL because to achieve my targets it is important to know whethermy students are clear with the outcomes or task expected of them.
The teacher’srole here is to provide clarity on the expectations by not just verballyexplaining it to them but also by documenting samples of student work, bothgood and bad. To provide evidence of learningis not a difficult job but for deepening learner engagement and motivation itbecomes important to design assessment that elicits evidence of learning andrather focus on helping students own their learning because that is the heartof assessment for learning. This would mean that as a teacher I must designassessments, strategies where learners are taking responsibilities of their ownlearning.
At the end, I would also like togive an example of an assessment for learning that I had designed for my 9thgrade history class. We had covered a topic on the pastoral communities ofIndia and Africa and their characteristics (lesson-pastoralism in the modernworld). After the class I used a ‘tea-party’strategy where each student was given a card with the name of a pastoralcommunity or a characteristic of corresponding communities. Students were given5 minutes to go around the class, interact and find people who had cards thatcorresponded to their own. At the end of 5 minutes’ students were seen standingin groups comprising students of the same community.
This strategy was used asa quick check(assessment) for learning.