A Literature Review of Assessment for Learning in Science

Katie Pyle, Claire Hodgson

10 June 2010

Posters presented at AEA 2009:
Assessment for Learning in science: what goes on in the primary schools in England?
| Assessment for learning in primary science: practices and benefits

This literature review stems from a project funded by NFER which researched Assessment for Learning (AfL) in science with a focus on the primary age phase.

Key Findings

  • Assessment for learning has many generic features but there are some features of AfL which can be specifically honed for science teaching and learning.
  • Classroom climate is particularly important. It is crucial that a co-constructivist, non-threatening environment is established in order for pupils to feel able to express their ideas and allow the teacher to establish what the pupils know, what they don’t know and what they partly know - their misconceptions – and to develop teaching that will move their understanding on.
  • The importance of talk, questioning, feedback, self- and peer-assessment are key in this area of research. The use of summative tests for formative purposes and the provision of resources and particular tools to support this area of teaching and learning are also discussed.
  • There are some resource materials which have been written which support particular features of AfL in science, namely to identify pupil misconceptions and to encourage peer discussion.

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