Assessment for Learning 2011 – Dylan Wiliam @ Schools Network

Conference Summary
More rhetoric than reality
Professor Dylan Wiliam,
Schools Network Conference 2011
Where are we now?
• We have amazing data on children’s
progress and very poor information
• We should be making decision-driven
data collection not data driven decision
• School leaders need to stop people
doing good things to allow them to do
even better things
Parent Teacher
•Parents do not know anything
about the school apart from trophies
in the foyer, uniform and marking
• So make the marking useful
for all
Comments vs Grades
• Grades and comments in marking leads to
• No gain, high achievers positive
• No gain, low achievers negative
• Competition can be powerful if you believe you
can close the gap
• The problem of motivation is in the match
between challenge and capability
• If we grade children’s efforts then we find our
selves saying, “Not only are you no good at
maths, you’re not even good at trying!”
How to ‘do’ Feedback
What to do with feedback
One group given written praise, list of weaknesses, workplan
The other group was given oral feedback, time to respond
This latter group is the one that improved
Feedback should be more work for the recipients than the donor
Don’t give feedback unless the first 10 mins is given over
to responding to the feedback
It’s like the difference between a medical and a post
Leave learning with
• Peekability
& Cope 1993)
• Give children an opportunity to reexamine their solution, not the
• Scaffolding
• Give children scaffolded ‘nudge’ in
the right direction, not the
complete solution
• Sometimes telling children where
• TGATLevelling
report: Children would
only be told their
level when it had changed (i.e. Year 2 to Year
• Sub Levels = Assessment Illiteracy
• This doesn’t allow for margins of error, two
sub levels each side
• Unreliability or invalidity
• By having very precise targets we close down
• Everything you do feeds in to where you
Kinds of Feedback
• Nyquist, 2003
• Knowledge of results = weaker
• Strong formative feedback gives 4
times the improvement
Harder than rocket
Personalisation, Dweck 2000
internal - I did well because I worked hard
external - I did not do well because Mr Smith let me down
“Success has a thousand fathers but failure is an orphan”
Boys... internal = stable (I am clever), external = unstable (my
questions must come up one day)
Best learners attribute successes and failures to internal
•“it’s down to you and you can do something about it”
• If you believe “Ability is fixed”
• It’s ok to fail if Mindset
everybody fails, but disastrous
if everybody else succeeds
• You become ‘performance oriented’:
can’t fail on easy work
• But the best learners want to be pushed and
push themselves
• “Ability is incremental” - by working you’re
getting smarter
• Being good at anything is just down to
• Teachers have to believe children can get
Engaging learners in
• Slow down the emotional reaction (it is
10 times faster than the cognitive
• “Here are the comments on these
essays, match the comments to
the piece of work”
Providing Feedback that moves learning
Feedback should cause thinking
Provide guidance on how to improve
Comment only marking
Focused marking
Everybody gets the same amount of work from feedback
Explicit reference to mark schemes
Feedback should be more work for the recipient than the donor
5 of these are wrong, you find them
Response required to feedback
Re-timing assessment - decision driven data collection
How do I wrap up this topic? Find out what learning is secure
and tailor the last few lessons to address the gaps
What is assessment?
• An assessment functions formatively to
the extent that evidence about student
achievement elicited by the assessment
is interpreted and used to make
decisions about the next steps in
instruction (whether teacher:pupil or
pupil:pupil) which is better, or better
founded, than if the decisions were
made without it.