pam (1)

Assessment FOR Learning reaches its most effective level when students are able to use assessment feedback to guide their own learning. Many activities that teachers are already using in their classrooms have great potential for this type of use. What makes the difference in the "AFL-ishness" of an activity is often not as much the activity itself as it is the way the teacher communicates its purpose to the students.

Pam Carter, an Ancient World History teacher at Salem High School, has taken a traditional activity and increased its AFL capacity by very purposefully training her students how to use the activity to assess their level of mastery.

As Pam teaches her students about the time period from the Paleolithic Era to the Agricultural Revolution she stops periodically to have students assess their level of understanding. They do this by completing portions of a 2-sided worksheet called the Ancient World History Guild (see images below or click on link below to download a pdf version of each page). As they move through the lessons/unit, students have to use their knowledge to answer the questions.

What makes this particularly "AFL-ish" is the fact that the questions are grouped into categories. Based on what you can answer you may have reached Apprentice Level, Journeyman Level, or Master Level. Students are trained to do more than just answer questions. They are trained instead to also assess how well they have mastered the content by the level they have reached. Students can use this worksheet as a study guide that will compare for them what they currently know with what they need to know to reach the goal of Master Level. In other words, they can use assement-elicited data to make decisions about their learning - AFL in a nutshell.

This is a perfect example of how AFL is not really about what assessment you use - it's about HOW you use the assessment.

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