The Problem with AfL

Scenes From The Battleground

I was interested to read some recent blogs debating the merits of Assessment for Learning (AfL), particularly here , here and here. While I’m sure I risk repeating some of the points already made, I can’t resist weighing in with a quick summary of my own views on AfL.

The basic idea of AfL, or formative assessment, is sound. We should use assessment to find out what students don’t know and then teach them it. We should provide useful feedback. But what has happened in practice, is probably the worst example of a sensible idea becoming a checklist to be mindlessly followed since the three-part lesson. Here are the problems with AfL:

1) AfL techniques are used regardless of whether there will be any opportunity to use the result. Formative assessment hinges on finding out useful information and then taking action. It is not useful for its own sake. There…

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About teachingbattleground

I teach
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