April 2009
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Assessment for Learning: has the Black Box been lost in translation?

In an interesting article in the Education Guardian yesterday, Phil Beadle raised concerns about the centrality of assessment for Learning in school life. Did it lead to souped up teaching or was it in danger of becoming some sort of opaque gruel? His fear is that Inside the Black Box has now reached its tenth birthday without being properly understood. The problem lies with the way the DCSF has rendered the AfL philosophy near meaningless by what Phil calls ‘ a series of sieves’ over many years. It seems to Phil as if ‘observed lessons that do not have some form of peer or self-assessment are now judged to be somehow dysfunctional. Where Inside the Black Box talked of informal assessment, Beyond the Black Box is in danger of trying to formalise. professors Wiliam and Black who gave us so much inspiration with Inside the Black Box must wince at what is now being produced by the DCSF in their name. For a fuller evaluation of the AfL approach visit the assessment section of my website which carries a detailed article written by Paul Black analysing what has gone wrog with AfL in too many schools.

For detailed advice and practical suggestions on Assessment for learning go to www.keystagehistory.co.uk Check out the new APP section in assessment .

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