London-centric Assessment for Learning

23rd September 2011 at 01:00

I was not surprised to read an article on "Why Assessment for Learning is not a passing fad" (TESpro, 16 September) in which all the references to research were from London institutions. It may surprise the writer (and TES) to know that the original research centre for formative assessmentassessment for learning, the Centre for Formative Assessment Studies (CFAS), founded 23 years ago in Manchester University, is still alive, busy and active in classroom support and national and international policy intervention.

One of the ironies of the test-data debate in England, and the reduction in pedagogy accordingly, is that in 1989 CFAS was funded by the government to develop trial assessment materials (the prototype of Sats for seven-year-olds), which would have empowered teachers to continually assess children's progress when they felt each child was ready for (formative) assessment and to plan to support next steps in learning from the information gained "in real time". This experiment, sadly, did not meet the normative requirements of the government of the time, which favoured herding children into a hall on a given day and branding them en masse - hence Sats and league tables were born.

Professor Bill Boyle, Director, CFAS, school of education, Manchester University.

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