Assessment for Learning


Group of children writing with a teacher

Assessment for Learning (AfL) is a very powerful and very obvious approach to assessing children's learning.

Instead of relying on tests, teachers are expected to use all of the information they learn about a child to make ongoing assessment. This includes using observations about: 

  • Questions the child asks and answers
  • The child's enthusiasm for work
  • The child's motivation and willingness
  • The way the child works with others
  • Whether the child can work independently until they need help
  • The child's use and organisation of resources and time

In AfL, all of these observations are used, together with evidence from the child's written and recorded work, to enable the teacher to ask three key questions:

  1. What does this child already know? 
  2. Related page
  3. What do they need to know next? 
  4. How are we going to bridge the gap?

Although this sounds obvious and easy, it isn't. Teachers make hundreds of observations about children every day, so they have to decide which are most important and how to prioritise the next steps: if children have too many targets, they forget them all.


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Last updated: about 3 years ago