Assessment for Learning (AfL) and Assessment of Learning (AoL) are phrases discussed widely in the arena of teaching, but how many of us understand what they mean?

In the next two newsletters, we will be looking at the difference between the assessment for learning and assessment of learning, using examples and explaining the importance of each. This month we focus on assessment for learning.

Assessment for learning (ALF) refers to formative assessment methods to enable teachers to improve achievement levels of their students. It is about co-operation between learners and teachers, so learners can think about and assess their own learning, rather than the teacher only.  It assists teachers to adapt their teaching strategies to meet the individual learner’s requirements.

AFL can be used within teaching of any age group or ability of learners. It gives learners information regarding how they can individually progress and how to plan for the future of their learning. AFL increases self-confidence, as it allows learners to set personal goals, gives them knowledge of how to achieve the goals and what they are required to do to reach targets.

With teachers it can be time consuming, however, it assists them to change their teaching strategies for each level of ability of learner they have within their group.  AFL can be incorporated into every lesson plan.  It helps to identify individual needs to assist learners to improve and teachers to encourage and develop their learners. 

There are five main processes that take place within AFL.

QUESTIONING techniques: with the help of their teacher to find what level they are achieving.

FEEDBACK: so learners understand how they can improve. This also enables teachers to use mistakes as a productive tool for learning, without humiliation, and can assist learners’ development.

IDENTIFICATION OF SUCCESSFUL WORK: learners are shown what successful work looks like so they understand what it is they have to do to successfully complete each task they undertake.

PEER ASSESSMENT & SELF ASSESSMENT: students constructively review their own work and that of their peers, thus helping them to become more independent in their own learning.

SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENT: helps students and teachers assess learning through exams and/or portfolio work.

Examples of formative assessment.

How well are you doing?

What progress has been made?

What needs to be done now?

Assessment for learning can be very effective in teaching when applied correctly and can improve learning experiences and outcomes.

HSF Training Ltd offer the Level 3 Award in Education and Training which explores teaching techniques and strategies to assist learners with various needs. The next scheduled course is

14th -19th September for only £475 + VAT, costs include all course materials, registration fees and a light lunch each day. Successful delegates will receive a certificate from the awarding body; Highfield Awarding Body of Compliance, HABC.  For more information regarding the course or any other training we provide, please call us on 0191 5022515 or email


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