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Planning Assessment for Learning

The first fundamental principle of effective classroom feedback is that feedback should be more work for the recipient that the donor. Dylan William


When teachers build assessment for learning into their daily classroom practice, they plan discussions, tasks and activities that will provide evidence of learning. There are many simple, quick and effective ways to make assessment for learning an integral part of every day. It is important to remember that assessment for learning is not the specific strategy or tool, but how the information gathered from the tool is used.

Providing Timely Feedback

Writing conferences offer opportunities for teachers to observe student learning and provide timely feedback. It is important to consider when, how much and what kind of feedback to give students in order to help them understand what they are doing well and what they need to work on next.


Insert Video 

Watch as Penny Kittle works with three different students who are all at different stages of the writing production process.


Observations and Conversations :

  Teacher Maya Dougan listens in on group discussions to check whether or not students are on the right track. She is able to step in when needed to clarify misconceptions or ask a question that will move students forward in their thinking. Finding time to observe students and listen to their discussions provides feedback about learning as it is happening that teachers can use to adapt learning and teaching activities to the needs of the students.

Asking Questions :




Andrew Adams makes effective use of questioning as part of daily assessment for learning during his lessons. For example :

  • asking questions to find out students’ starting points
  • asking a range of questions to develop understanding and deeper thinking

Record Keeping


Anecdotal records and checklists can help teachers record student thinking and track progress over time. With this information teachers are able to give students feedback and adjust teaching strategies to meet their needs.


Graphic Organizers 

  Mary Sauve, has her grade 9 students create mind maps as a way of assessing what they understand about a particular concept. These mind maps also help students organize their thinking before starting on a project.


Co-Constructing Assessement Criteria


Many teachers work with students to develop assessment criteria and build rubrics for the work they are doing.

This process helps students internalize expectations and makes expectations clear and transparent from the outset.  


Additional Resources

"Crafting Feedback That Leads to Learningdiscusses five techniques for giving feedback to help students improve their work.

TCEA offers information on Five Fabulous Formative Assessments for your Classroom.

Paul Emerich’s teaching blog offers information on creating assessment criteria in conjunction with his students.