Seven Strategies of Assessment for Learning

At the Assessment Training Institute (ATI), Jan Chappuis  presented a workshop session on the Introduction to Seven Strategies of Assessment for Learning. These strategies are research-based recommendations base on three questions that students have to be able to ask themselves:

Where am I going?

Where am I now?

How can I close the gap?

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Here is an overview of how the seven classroom strategies answer those questions. We don’t need to be master all of those at once, but start trying those strategies in class, to develop our community of learners:

Where am I going?

“Strategy 1: Provide a clear and understandable vision of the learning target”:

  • Develop a set of kid friendly learning targets based on standards.
  • Ensure students understand the learning target.
  • Connect activities and assessments with the learning target:  Why are we doing this activity? What are we learning?

“Strategy 2: Use examples and models of strong and weak work”:

  • Select exemplars of strong work that match the learning targets.
  • Help students sort through what is strong and weak models (use only anonymous work).
  • Ask students to justify their judgement using the learning targets / rubric.

Where am I now?

“Strategy 3: Offer regular descriptive feedback during the learning”:

  • Offer feedback on formative work based on students’ strengths and weaknesses in relation to a learning target.
  • Offer students opportunities to act on the feedback before  a summative.
  • Model self-assessment so students learn to identify “Where am I now?” in relation to “Where do I need to be?” , pointing to a way to “How can I close the gap?”. 
  • Involve students as peer-feedback givers.

“Strategy 4: Teach students to self-assess and set goals for next steps”: 

  • Teach students how to be accurate self-assessors (need Strategy 1)
  • Give students practice on identifying strengths and weaknesses on a variety of examples (Strategy 2)
  • Give students exposure to feedback that models self-assessment: What have I done well? Where do I need to continue working?

How can I close the gap?

“Strategy 5: Use evidence of student learning needs to determine next steps in teaching”:

  • Make instructional changes based on checks for understanding.
  • Develop a repertoire of approaches to diagnose the type of learning needs in preparation for addressing them.

“Strategy 6: Design focused instruction, followed by practice with feedback”:

  • Narrow the focus of a lesson to address identified needs (scaffolding).
  • Build competency by addressing one component of quality of a learning target at a time, if applicable.
  • After addressing the needs, let students practice and get better before grading.
  • Give students opportunities to revise work based on feedback just on that area of need, narrowing the volume of feedback you give.

“Strategy 7: Provide opportunities for students to track, reflect on, and share their learning progress”:

  • Provide activities that require students to reflect on what they are learning.
  • Provide opportunities for students to share their learning progress.

As Jan Chappuis states:

Any activity that requires students to reflect on what they are learning and to share their progress reinforces the learning and helps them develop insights into themselves as learners.  These kinds of activities give students the opportunity to notice their own strengths, to see how far they have come, and to feel in control of the conditions of their success. By reflecting on their learning, they deepen their understanding and will remember it longer. By sharing their progress, students develop a deeper commitment to making progress. – Jan Chappuis

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