Helen Ward's article "Assessment for Learning has fallen prey to gimmicks, says critic" (TES, October 17) resonated with our own experiences of working with student teachers. When asked about their awareness of success criteria in primaries, few had seen them in practice. Those aware of success criteria said they were mainly teacher-prescribed.
There are various reasons why schools find AfL challenging, including the focus on summative assessment identified in the article. But we feel that student teachers find it hard to to engage with strategies such as AfL because they do not see them consistently applied in the classroom.
Comments such as "I know I didn't do it today, but I'm doing AfL tomorrow" suggest that they often see assessment as a bolt-on, rather than integral to the lesson.
We are exploring ways to overcome this by integrating AfL into initial teacher training so that student teachers can experience its significance directly and develop their own classroom practice in accordance with this model.
The strategies we are developing include students setting their own success criteria for their assignments and using formative feedback from prior assignments to support their own academic development.
Stephen Petty, page 44
Donna Hurford and Andrew Read University of Cumbria, Carlisle.