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Revisiting Dylan Wiliam’s
Formative Assessment Strategies.
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These five strategies were expressed as early as


  1. Clarifying, understanding, and sharing                                                                      learning intentions

  2. Engineering effective classroom discussions,                                                                tasks and activities that elicit evidence of                                                                  learning

  3. Providing feedback that moves learners forward

  4. Activating students as learning resources for one another

  5. Activating students as owners of their own learning


Leahy, Lyon, Thompson and Wiliam (2005).


Wiliam presents these ideas in this helpful table, linking the strategies to core assessment concepts:

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1.  Wiliam says ‘if you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll never get there’.

Curriculum planning is key - sequencing concepts, providing models and appropriate scaffolding.

Teachers need to know what excellence will look like and this can only be achieved by knowing the standards for their subject and how to link these to assessment.

2.  Instructional teaching must be reciprocal to allow teachers to judge how well their learning objectives are being met through regular feedback from students.  Can the students demonstrate that they are retaining their new knowledge, drawing on past learning and using it with understanding? 

Questioning is probably the most important skill in a teacher's 'toolkit' and, used skilfully, it can quickly engage many students and allow the teacher to check regularly their knowledge and understanding.

3.  Feedback has to move learners forward - it is only meaningful if learning improves as a direct result.  Think Feedforward rather than Feedback.

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