Assessment for Learning

Using Cambridge resources to help address any gaps in learning

Georgia Robinson

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused various levels of disruption to teaching and learning. So we have collated some tools to help you identify how much learning has taken place. Once you are confident about your learners’ current level of understanding, you’ll need to consider how to build on this. Our resources will help you to create that plan to address gaps in learning.

The assessment journey for you and your learners continues beyond diagnosing areas of focus. Continuous assessment is a powerful tool to help you make progress with your class.

We support better learning with resources that help you to implement assessment for learning (AfL) effectively in the classroom.

What is AfL?

Assessment for learning is a teaching approach that generates feedback that the teacher can then use to improve student learning. The process involves establishing where the student is on their learning journey, where they need to go, and, crucially, how to get there. Our resources support teachers in asking the right questions to make student understanding visible, becoming aware of common student misconceptions and providing impactful feedback to help students with next steps.

Why is Afl beneficial for learning?

Questions help learners to challenge and explore their understanding of a particular topic. Questions can also help you and your learners identify areas where their knowledge is less secure. This is a valuable part of the learning process.

You can help them to move beyond ‘struggle zones’ in their learning by providing feedback that helps them to fill the gaps in their knowledge, thereby boosting both their competence and their confidence. Once it is clear to them what they must do to move forward, learners often make significant progress.

Students become more involved in the learning process and, from this, gain confidence in what they are expected to learn – becoming able to self and peer assess. Teachers can quickly see students’ level of understanding of a particular concept or topic, which helps you to address any gaps in learning.

This gives you as a teacher better information about student understanding, which in turn helps you make better decisions about what to do next. This ultimately leads to better learning.
How do our resources support it?

Our resources contain the following features to help you see where students are in their learning and how to get to where they need to be.

Understanding what students need to demonstrate 

Learning objectives
Each chapter of our coursebooks begins with learning objectives that state what the students’ learning goal is by the end of the chapter.

Learning objectives example
Prior learning
Many of our resources contain prior learning checks at the beginning of chapters – these activities are diagnostic tools to help you see your students’ current level of understanding before proceeding with the lesson.

Prior learning example

Worked example/walkthroughs
These show students what good looks like, by taking them through the steps involved.

Walk through example in our books
Evidence of student learning

The questions in our resources help consolidate student knowledge and skill, and externalise student thinking to help teachers make decisions about next steps.

Discussion questions
These facilitate debate and allow you to dig deeper into student reasoning so you can give feedback. These could involve discussion in pairs, small groups, or with the whole class.

Diagnostic questions
These identify any problems in student understanding and give you as a teacher a quick insight into any misconceptions.

End of chapter questions
These indicate that understanding is secure and that students are ready to move on. For IGCSE and AS & A Level courses, these includes exam-style questions.

Types of question example
These provide an opportunity for students to show you evidence of their thinking through a variety of outputs, such as written tasks, drawing and poster-making. These activities take an active learning approach.

Types of activities example
Reflecting on student learning

Self and peer assessment
These develop critical and reflective thinking skills, and build independence. They allow students to consider their own, or their classmate’s, progress through the learning objectives.

Self assessment example
This encourages students to think about what went well and what they could do better next time.

Reflection example
Once you have addressed gaps in learning and you can use some of our suggested tools to help measure the progress that your students have made.