Practical ways to use assessment effectively

CRAFT explores the role of teachers in providing pupils with the platform to transform new learning into memorable materials that can be used to rehearse and deliberately practice. The R of CRAFT outlines how pupils can become more reflective and self-regulated learners to strengthen memory connections through the combined use of retrieval and spaced practice. The A of CRAFT is the use of assessment to check for understanding and allow teachers and pupils themselves to unravel what they know, what they need to know and how they can get there. In the F and T of CRAFT this involves the combined use of feedback and feedforward strategies to provide pupils with guidance to close the knowledge gaps.


stablishing an effective process of assessment is one of the most challenging

aspects of teaching but equally one of the most important ingredients for good teaching and learning. In our final feature this month, Michael Chiles, author of “The CRAFT of Assessment”, looks at how learning can be assessed to create a climate for leaders in all phases of education that will support and enable their teachers to take control and use assessment to guide pupils in closing the knowledge gap. The core principles of CRAFT provide a

meaningful, manageable, and motivational whole-school approach to assessment. The C of

Assessment as part of a learning journey In the past, the use of level-based and benchmark assessments, as well as an emphasis of summative over formative approaches have led to the distorted understanding of how to assess pupil’s learning, which was reflected in the 2015 Department for Education report on Assessment without Levels. We should see the process of assessing learning as an opportunity to gather information to respond and direct pupils on the right track to success. If we take the example of a train journey, the

use of summative assessment is the end of that journey, the final stop. It is assessment of learning to see what a pupil has achieved at the end of a unit of work or school year. On the other hand,


when it is formative, pupils get on and off the train as they are directed by the teacher through regular feedback on how to get to the end of the journey. When assessment is formative it is assessment for learning and can be used to indicate where pupils are at and support the teacher’s plans for the next steps to help their pupils improve. For it to be used as a formative tool, teachers need to review and adapt their approach to teaching to support pupils in further forward towards the learning intention. In 2007, Wiliam and Thompson outlined five

overarching strategies to conceptualise the process of using assessment formatively, part of the learning process:

• Clarifying and sharing learning intentions and criteria for success.

• Engineering effective classroom discussions and other learning tasks that elicit evidence of student understanding.

• Providing feedback that moves learners forward.

• Activating students as instructional resources for one another.

• Activating students as owners of their own learning.

In the past, pupils have completed end of unit September 2020

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