Attending to students' learning needs using assessment (Review)

Klenowski, Valentina (2004) Attending to students' learning needs using assessment (Review). Assessment in Education, 11(2), pp. 213-226.

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REVIEW ESSAY Internationally, the role of assessment in supporting and improving learning is impacting on current curriculum and policy developments. This shift in assessment frameworks from those that emphasize standardized, norm-referenced testing programmes to those that involve more classroom-based assessment re¯ect the understanding that assessment needs to align more with student-centred curriculum based on constructivist learning theories (Sera®ni, 2001). Countries such as Australia, Canada, England, Hong Kong and European Countries, such as Malta and Latvia, that have undergone recent curriculum reform, are moving towards assessment frameworks that encourage the practice of assessment for learning. Factors that have contributed to this shift include the changing theories of learning and knowledge about their impact on curriculum and pedagogy to promote active student engagement with learning. As our understanding and design of curriculum and assessment have changed so too has our understanding of how learning takes place. Epistemologically the shift is from a static, passive view of knowledge transmission to a more active view of knowledge construction that is seen as an interactive, organic process of reorganization and restructuring by the learner (Gipps, 1998). Constructivist views of learning see the learner as an active interpreter and constructor of knowledge based on experiences and interactions with the environment (Klenowski, 2002). This view of learning has important implications for changing assessment practice and helps to explain current policy directions towards assessment for learning (OFSTED, 2003; QCA, 2003). The Black and Wiliam (1998a) review of research literature on formative assessment revealed that the predominant issues were: students' perceptions, peerand self-assessment, and the role of feedback in a pedagogy focused on learning. Black and Wiliam (2003) indicate that this ®nding refocused `formative assessment studies away from systems, with its emphasis on the formative-summative interface, and relocate[d] it on classroom processes' (p. 628, italics in original). The two books reviewed here focus on assessment for, and as learning, in the context of classroom processes. The authors are scholar-practitioners who have conducted research about the move towards assessment practice that improves learning and, in particular, emphasizes the skills, knowledge and attitudes regarded as most important rather than those that are easy to assess (Crooks, 1988). Both books will appeal to teachers, school leaders, academics and researchers who have an interest in assessment that attends to students' learning needs. There are ample practical examples in both books of how teachers are making assessment work to enhance student learning in their classroom contexts.

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ID Code: 9323
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: For more information, please refer to the journal’s website (see link) or contact the author. Author contact details:
DOI: 10.1080/0969594042000259501
ISSN: 1465-329X
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > SPECIALIST STUDIES IN EDUCATION (130300) > Education Assessment and Evaluation (130303)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2004 Taylor & Francis
Copyright Statement: First published in Assessment in Education 11(2):pp. 213-226.
Deposited On: 04 Sep 2007 00:00
Last Modified: 15 Jan 2009 07:44

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