What is Assessment for Learning?
Assessment for Learning involves using assessment in the classroom to raise pupils' achievement. It is based on the idea that pupils will achieve most if they understand what they are learning, why they are learning it, how they will learn it, and how they are doing in relation to the expected outcome of their learning.
How do we do it?
Effective Assessment for Learning happens all the time in all classrooms, through a wide range of strategies that all teachers use. These include: sharing learning objectives with children, sharing success criteria, effective questioning techniques, effective verbal and written feedback,red pen time and self-assessment.
What are Learning Zones?
Each classroom has a Learning Zones display. Children are taught to understand what each Zone means, and are taught a range of strategies they can use for each zone.
The Comfort Zone
The comfort zone is where many of us operate. In this zone, children are often using skills that they have previously gained. They can often manage the task without any real effort. While the comfort zone is by definition the most ‘comfortable’, we can’t make progress or build skills in the comfort zone since it consists of the abilities we can already do easily. We teach children to identify when they are in the comfort zone. Children know that they will not learn if they are in the comfort zone for too long, and they are encoraged to be ambitious or to challenge themselves when they find themselves here.
The Panic Zone
If you’ve ever become so anxious you can no longer think, you’ve probably been in the panic zone. Activities in the panic zone are so tough that we don’t know how to approach them. We can’t make progress in the panic zone. We teach children to identify when they are in this zone, and equip them with a range of strategies they can use to move out of the panic zone."
The Stretch Zone
"Between the panic zone and the comfort zone is the learning zone. You can only make progress by choosing activities in the learning zone. The skills and abilities that are just out of reach are in the learning zone; they’re neither so far away that we panic nor close enough where they’re too easy."
Children are asked to consider the zone they are in throughout a lesson. By using the strategies they have been taught to move from one zone to another, they can become more independent in their learning, and can become more aware of what helps them to learn.
A Purple Learner is someone who :
Has a go at tricky things
Thinks for themselves
Makes an effort
Does their best
Purple Learners choose to put themselves in the Stretch Zone (purple) where learning is not too easy (blue) and not too hard (red). This is what we want all children to be able to do, so that they become successful, independent learners, who achieve their life goals.
What else do we do?
We teach children to have a Growth Mindset. All staff in school believe that all children, with the right attitude, can succeed. We believe that failure is an essential part of the learning process, and that a child's potential is not fixed, but can be developed over time through effort and persistence. As a school, we make sure that effort and persistence and recognised and praised rather than ability, and that struggle is recognised as a crucial part of learning. Studies have shown that mindset can be a bigger predictor of success than basic ability.