How can assessment encourage and motivate learners to succeed, academically and socially?
According to TS6 in the Teachers’ Standards, a teacher is required to ‘make accurate and productive use of assessment’ including formative and summative assessment. Formative assessment is also known as assessment for learning (AfL) and happens throughout lessons and units of work. In contrast, summative assessment is a test at the end of a unit of work.
Black and Wiliam (2005) identified that a negative impact of assessment was the overemphasis on grades and marks. This is supported by Butler (1988) who also found that low ability students are still demotivated even when grades are accompanied by comments. In my marking, I try to give only WWW (what went well) and EBI (even better if) comments instead of a grade so that students engage with the suggestions for improvement. When I marked a lists programming assessment by my year 9 computing class, I gave them comments but not grades (evidence 3i). EBI comments give students specific ways of improving their work. Black and Wiliam (2005) suggest that formative assessment ‘yields particularly good results with low achievers by concentrating on specific problems with their work and giving them a clear understanding of what is wrong and how to put it right’. This relates to TS2 because it is a teacher’s responsibility to encourage students to have a conscientious and responsible attitude to their own learning. If a student knows exactly what is wrong and how they can fix it, this can motivate them to succeed academically.
Assessment does not just occur when marking student tests or written work. AfL can be used by questioning students in the classroom. Black and Wiliam (2005) state that ‘all students should have the opportunity to think and express their ideas’. The idea is to not constantly ask the same students or only give a few seconds waiting time, but engage with all students. One strategy I have used Google Classroom to post a question that all students can give a written response to (evidence 3ii). This motivates students to succeed socially because it hopefully creates an environment where students feel confident to give answers and are not worried about being wrong. I can then pick out interesting answers to fuel classroom questioning and discussion.
Questioning is essential for responsive lesson planning. TS6 suggests that teachers should use relevant assessment data to plan future lessons. This data can be in different forms and collected in different ways, questioning being one of them. Various forms of AfL may be used at the start of a lesson to assess prior knowledge and at the end of a lesson in the form of a plenary. This can check student understanding and inform future planning, even if this means re-planning the next lesson. A method I have used is an exit ticket. In this example (evidence 3iii), I displayed a piece of code on the board including the concepts that students had learnt that lesson and they had to write what the output would be on a piece of paper. They handed this to me as I left. This informed my planning for the next lesson as I was aware that the majority of the class had understood and could move on to the next topic.
Teaching standards 2 and 6
Black, P. and Wiliam, D., 2005. Inside the black box: Raising standards through classroom assessment. Granada Learning.
Butler, R., 1988. Enhancing and undermining intrinsic motivation: The effects of task‐involving and ego‐involving evaluation on interest and performance. British journal of educational psychology, 58(1), pp.1-14.
Department for Education (2013). Teachers’ Standards. Department for Education. TS2 & TS6