The Assessment Network

Sharing assessment & grading strategies that help students learn

In December 2009, the Salem High School faculty was asked to take an AFL survey.  Those results are compiled here: AFL Survey Results.pdf.

The SHS AFL Committee has reviewed those results.  After doing so members of the committee lifted up the following as "points of interest": 


  • Teachers limiting the number of students who can receive an A
  • Varied responses to assigning grades to practice – very small percentage?
  • How can we better involve students in tracking their progress and setting learning goals – very small number of teachers say they do this?
  • How can we encourage students to USE the feedback they get from us?
  • Showing students examples of strong and weak work – ideas of how teachers are doing this?
  • How to motivate students other than grades?
  • Teachers are using many different approaches to apply AFL.
  • 80% make their assessments demonstrate how students are doing relative to one another rather than relative to the content objectives.  Was this question
  • How much should “practice” count?  Do we need to discuss this more as a faculty or within departments?


For the March 10, 2010 faculty meeting, please:

1. Review those results for yourself.  

2. After doing so, please discuss the results with those at your table.

3. Please also share at your table 1 positive outcome in your classroom of you working to implement AFL ideas/strategies.

4. Then respond to this discussion by sharing your discussion of the results and the examples from your classrooms of positive outcomes of using AFL idea/strategies.

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In the special education classroom, I have found that the AFL focus this year has made the general education teachers far more willing to cooperate with the special education teachers when we ask that a student be allowed to make up work, repeat work, or in some other way demonstrate increased knowledge after being re-taught the material in a self-contained setting.

Other teachers at the table commented:
1. They have been more open-minded about letting students turn in work late if the work is well-done; they report greater leniency on their part if the student demonstrates a better understanding of the material.
2. In art, students have been allowed to re-do projects so they are graded on a superior product.
I give a pop quiz of 3 - 5 questions at the beginning of class to see if students have read their homework. They pass those up, and then I give the answers. We listen to the presentation about the assignment, and then I give another quiz covering the material to let them see if they remember the material. This is not graded but prepares them for the overall test later.
1 Positive outcome of using AFL
- always have used rubrics, but tend to use them a whole lot more.
- visually document unacceptable quality of work along with visually documenting acceptable quality of work.
- pair the rubric along with the acceptable quality of work so the students can visually see.

Bev Allman, Hilda Paxton, Jim Paxton, Debbie Stratton
We are enjoying the feedback we get from students by allowing them to correct quizzes in class. Additionally, providing practice quizzes through on-line media allows for students to prepare and receive feedback prior to taking a highly valued test (Example: Moodle).

While the results of the survey were very interesting, we think students should also be surveyed to see what they think about AFL practices and see if they are aware of their presence in the classroom.

Group: Terry LaRocco, Amy Stump, Jen Shannon, Sarah Taylor, Danyel Barnes, Robyn Harless, Pam Carter, Justin Halterman
Group - Susan Gardner, Dawn Gomez, Jamison Jones, Stefanie Fowler
1. white boards for practice quiz led to improved grades, daily quizzes hold kids accountable,
2. most respondents seem to be in the comfort zone of using AFL, looks like most folks are headed in the direction of more and more implementation of AFL
I've broken projects down into smaller steps requiring completion of each step before proceeding. This has helped mastery.
Pam (at my table) likes the whiteboard review process.
I have bought for my class a sheet metal shear which allows students to cut out a substandared weld and reweld time and time again until we are both satisfied with their progress or final result. This final weld is recorded for a grade.
Our group had a really productive discussion on re-takes and how to hold students accountable to really study the first time instead of waiting until the retake. Have them complete and work with them on mastery of review material prior to the retake instead of just opening the door to open range retakes.
I have been using a content analysis chart on reviews that shows me correct and incorrect answers before the big unit test. If a majority of students are missing the same content, then it sends a "red flag" to me to cover that material in more detail before the exam.
Of those who replied to the survey, the results of using AFL strategies are extremely positive. Some folks at our table felt as if AFL gives a name to certain teaching strategies they have been using previously.

The use of AFL has opened the possibility of alternative assessements.

The idea of AFL becomes almost contagious.

How much are the students aware of AFL assessments in the classroom. One teacher shared the idea that she asks her students to write down one or two things they understand and one or two things they have difficulty understanding. Are we using the same terminology with students that we are using with each other in measuring assessment? Some students are catching on to the use of AFL as evidenced through their conversation with teachers.

In guidance the Quick Lookup becomes a handy tool in helping students to understand their grades. What needs to change to get better grades?
We all feel AFL is a positive thing that SHS teachers are utilizing. We feel that most teachers have already been using AFL; however, it is good to get reflections from each other and to gain new AFL strategies. Our concern is that if a student does nothing during a chapter/unit and then gets an A on the test...We realize that academics and discipline should remain separated; however, there is a concern that part of our job is to teach responsibility. There are a lot of students who are beginning to automatically assume that all tests/assignments given will be allowed to be retaken. We're a bit concerned that students will slack off and just perform at the end without trying inbetween points a and b.
Our group discussed homework and the grading (and not grading) of it. We want to have grades that show mastery and we feel "bad" if we have only a few quiz and test grades. Do parents think we aren't doing anything? We each shared how we check homework in math and how if affects the overall grade. We also discussed how to get students motivated to actually do the homework. Some do not allow "re-takes" without showing that they did they homework. Others use it as insurance, if they do it and miss a question on the test, the homework can replace one question. Some allow it to be extra credit---but some of the students don't care about that and do not do the "practice.

Lewis, Gayle, Erin, Alisa, Penny, Valerie, and Beth M.


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