I wonder if Smithmith (Online Opinion, 5 October) has missed the point? He claims Black and Wiliam's research into formative assessment does not "stack up". Yet Dunn and Malvenon, whom she cites, conclude: "The research discussed in Black and Wiliam's (1998) review and the other research discussed here does provide some support for the impact of formative assessment on student achievement. However, it provides greater support for the need to conduct research in which more efficient methodologies and designs will lead to more conclusive results and understanding of the impact of formative assessment and evaluation on student achievement."
Whether they are right or not, I think this proves the point I was making about the importance of evidence. So, Smithmith, what's your view on setting, from the research evidence?
Brian Boyd, University of Strathclyde.