Maybe you have had enough Assessment for Learning to last a lifetime, you say? However, isn’t true that its one thing to understand what it is (or at least think so), and another to actually put it into regular daily practice in our classrooms. Another analogy…
Okay, so you get the idea. Assessment for learning assumes that learning is a continuous process, and that using a final average of the student’s work can interfere with the important task of understanding students and what they have actually learned. An average only shows what could be expected of typical performance of a student and doesn’t show any of the trends in student learning. Summative evaluation is only a snapshot in time–not the whole story.
According to my understanding of AFL and that of teacher Chris Werj, “the other error that the coach makes (other than averaging) is that he gives grades at all. Grading is assessment OF learning and very rarely leads to increased learning (Black and Wiliam, 1996). We have all used the “weighing the pig” example whereby if we want a pig to grow, we don’t just keep weighing it. According to Black and Wiliam, when feedback is given along with a grade, the feedback becomes significantly less useful than if feedback is given without a grade.”
Educational Technologist, David Wees, offers another way to look at it:
“Let’s look at a more extreme analogy. Suppose you are trying to become a famous painter. You try and create a masterpiece, but over and over again your work just isn’t there. You keep improving a little bit each time because you are practicing, but most of what you produce is really not that good. One day you have a break-through and you paint a masterpiece. Your work goes viral and you make millions of dollars in prints. Are you successful? Should we consider a kid who produces an awesome piece of work to be successful? What if it is their final exam?”
So, are you just weighing the pig or actually feeding it..?