Assess for faults and fix them

5th December 2008 at 00:00

Assessment for learning is one of those things in teaching that everyone favours. To question it is now a heresy; not to be informed about it is professional suicide. It is a good thing. But we are all worried now because we know that what the strategy says is assessment for learning, isn't at all, and what's more, everyone, including Professor Paul Black (who was involved in developing the scheme) says so, but the steam roller rumbles on.

Why does it matter? Because teachers have to take control of our work and start asserting and clarifying our understanding about teaching over those who seek to guide us. In this case, to a state of confusion about what we are supposed to be doing and why.

We have to understand what AfL means in terms of day-to-day, lesson by lesson assessment for a teacher working in a classroom. The most accurate understanding of the main idea that drives assessment for learning is very simple: find faults and fix them.

Rob Smith, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today