Journey to Excellence

Assessment strategies - Dylan Wiliam

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Dylan Wiliam outlines five key assessment strategies and how they interconnect. Listen as he describes the roles and relationships of teachers, learners and their peers.


If we take the three central processes in assessments of making sure that: you are clear about where the learner is going; you are clear about where they are and you want to establish how to get there; and you think about the role of the teacher; the role of the other peers in the classroom and the learner themselves. You end up with five, what we call, key strategies.

The first is the teacher's role in making sure that you know where the learner is through questioning, classroom tasks, dialogue - it's finding out where the learner is. Then giving feedback to the students and not feedback that tells them they are doing okay and no they are not doing okay, but it's feedback that moves the learner forward. Then you have the role of peer, first of all helping each other understand success criteria. The teacher helps clarify what the lesson is about and what the learning is about and peers have a role in communicating this to each other as well. You have peers supporting each other - what we call activating students as teaching resources of one another. You have student self-assessment or activating students as owners of their own learning. That brings in all the stuff about metacognition; managing all your emotional reaction to school and to work. We get this complex of ultimately five processes.

There is a question in finding out where students are within their learning; the feedback that moves learners; making sure that everybody concerned is clear about the success criteria; student peer assessment and student self-assessment. Those we think are the five key processes or five key strategies for Assessment for Learning. Some which so… that we would say that if you are doing Assessment for Learning you are doing at least one of those - and if you are not doing one of those then you are not doing Assessment for Learning.

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In association with Education Scotland