Formative Assessment - Formative Assessment in UK Education

Formative Assessment in UK Education

In the UK education system, formative assessment (or assessment for learning) has been a key aspect of the agenda for personalised learning. The Working Group on 14–19 Reform led by Sir Mike Tomlinson, recommended that assessment of learners be refocused to be more teacher-led and less reliant on external assessment, putting learners at the heart of the assessment process.

The UK government has stated that personalised learning depends on teachers knowing the strengths and weaknesses of individual learners, and that a key means of achieving this is through formative assessment, involving high quality feedback to learners included within every teaching session.

The Assessment Reform Group has set out 10 principles for formative assessment. These are that assessment for learning should:

  • be part of effective planning of teaching and learning
  • focus on how students learn
  • be recognised as central to classroom practice
  • be regarded as a key professional skill for teachers
  • be sensitive and constructive because any assessment has an emotional impact
  • take account of the importance of learner motivation
  • promote commitment to learning goals and a shared understanding of the criteria by which they are assessed
  • enable learners to receive constructive guidance about how to improve
  • develop learners’ capacity for self-assessment so that they can become reflective and self-managing
  • recognise the full range of achievements of all learners

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