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Assessment for learning

Assessment for learning builds upon existing assessment principles and practices that support learning beyond the educational context.

Assessment for learning shifts the focus from traditional high stakes, end of semester summative examinations that measure one-off performance, to more evenly distributed assessments that are designed to allow students to practice their skills and knowledge and use feedback on their work to further improve. This shift refocuses assessment on preparing students for their future, fostering personal growth and the development of skills that will help them make sound judgements in real-world situations.

Each of the themes below provides distinct, though often overlapping, ways of considering how to design assessment for learning.

Three students testing a car's electrical systems

Planning and alignment

Improve student engagement and learning by aligning intended learning outcomes, activities, and assessment tasks across courses and programmes.

Collaborative and peer assessment

Design assessment tasks that help students develop lifelong skills in working with others.

Authentic assessment

Design authentic capability-based assessment tasks to develop students’ lifelong skills.

Student choice

Give students choices and involve them as partners in the design of their assessment for a more personal and engaging experience.

Feedback and feed forward

Develop students’ own judgement and self-regulation by providing ongoing opportunities for formative feedback.

Programmatic assessment

Design assessment at programme level to support ongoing student progression and self-directed learning.

Purposes of assessment

Professor David Boud is Director of the Centre for Research in Assessment and Digital Learning (CRADLE) at Deakin University in Australia. He is a global leader in the field of Assessment. In this short video, he highlights three different purposes of assessment and urges us always to be clear about the purpose of every assessment task we design for students.

View Prof. Boud’s collection of scholarly research listed on Google Scholar.

Assessment for learning represents one of three signature pedagogical practices outlined in the Curriculum Framework.

Page updated 20/12/2022

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