This website is dedicated to assisting educators in their understanding and application of Assessment for Learning (AFL).
Assessment for Learning is sometimes referred to as formative assessment because it is assessment that is used to "form" learning.
Maybe the best way to explain what Assessment for Learning (AFL) is... is to say what it is NOT.
- AFL is not an isolated event. It is a process, which teachers implement to establish what students understand and can do. This process will uncover misconceptions or gaps in knowledge when they first arise. At that point the teacher can assist the student in moving learning forward.
- AFL is not graded. Research shows that once students see a grade they often will not comprehend their responsibility to improve their work, even if the opportunity is available. AFL relies on ACTIONABLE FEEDBACK to drive improvement and learning.
- AFL is not as teacher directed as summative classroom assessment is. AFL works best when students see their peers as valuable resources for learning and feedback. When utilized to its fullest potential, AFL enlists the individual student to become an active partner in their own learning.
- AFL is not simply a quick check of basic knowledge. AFL when implemented properly becomes more sophisticated as the learning scaffolds from basic to more complex. To accomplish this, advanced questioning and discussion methods are utilized.
- AFL is not completely separate from classroom summative assessment. Even though summative assessment tends to mark the end of a specific learning segment, if a teacher utilizes AFL strategies consistently students may very well use the information from summative assessment to improve. And, even though formative assessment is not graded teachers can utilize strategies to allow the information from those assessments to shape the reporting of a student's learning.
ASCD's Professional Interest Community
Summative Assessment, the assessment at the end of the learning used to measure how much and what students have learned is obviously different from formative assessment, but they are not mutually exclusive.