Assessment for Learning

Assessment for Learning in Singapore Secondary Schools: Case Studies of Professional Learning

  • Assessment for Learning (AfL) has been known to

    • improve achievement outcomes (Black & Wiliam, 1998, 2018; Black et al., 2004)

    • promote student engagement and autonomy (Klenowksi, 2009; Swaffield, 2011)

    • increase student intrinsic motivation (Lee, 2011; Tang, 2013)

  • These case studies are offered as starting points for teachers to access instances of AfL in the local context and adapt ideas into their own classrooms.

As the Singapore educational landscape continues to strive towards a more balanced assessment system, schools are turning to Assessment for Learning (AfL) to complement the practice and influence of summative assessment. This is particularly important with recent policy initiatives such as the restriction in the number of weighted assessments in Singapore schools and advancing teacher’s assessment literacy.


These case studies are offered as starting points for teachers to access instances of AfL in the local context and adapt ideas into their own classrooms. They illustrate how AfL can and should be adapted in different subject and classroom contexts.

The research team worked with four secondary school teachers (teaching English, Geography, Math and Science) to review their lessons. We wanted to focus on the secondary school context as we noted there are more known examples of AfL practices in the primary school context. It has also been reported in literature that secondary school teachers have encountered more difficulties in enacting AfL (McMillan, 2010).


In this research, secondary school teachers were interviewed and comments were given on their lesson plans to help them think further about incorporating AfL process (see framework below). Subject specific issues were also surfaced and discussed, with help from the consultants who were experts in the different subjects. The team observed and video-recorded the teachers’ lessons and conducted a review. A lesson package comprising a video clip, resources and handout was then created from the data collected.


Lesson plans and resources from eight other teachers were also reviewed to give a more general view of how teachers understand and carry out AfL. Although these teachers were not video-recorded or interviewed formally, insights gleaned helped provide a clear picture of how AfL was enacted as well as suggest subject-specific issues.


Adopting learner-centred AfL process

An earlier research on perceptions, policies and practices of AfL in 13 secondary schools (Leong et al., 2019) suggested that:

  • Teachers conducted narrow sets of performance-oriented AfL practices where they were too focused on helping students achieve high grades in summative assessment.

  • Such practices might appear to help students do well in specific tasks found in exams but might not necessarily develop in their students the skills and knowledge necessary beyond exams.

Hence, a framework was developed by the research team to guide teachers towards a more learner-centred AfL process that aimed for achieving broader learning outcomes (see Figure 1). We believe such deliberate re-orientation will support student’s life-long learning endeavours.


AFL Process

Figure 1: Framework of Learner-Centred AfL Process ( view larger image )

(more research findings on AfL can be found here:https://sites.google.com/view/ctl-assessment/AfL)

The framework emphasised AfL as an iterative process that can have different starting points, with the ultimate goal of enabling students to take ownership of their learning. For instance, it is typical in the beginning of a sequence of teaching-learning of a topic, to help students to understand clearly ‘Where am I Heading?’ through explaining learning objectives, discussing rubrics and students’ artifacts. In such a stage of AfL, teachers are likely to take on a more instructive role of modelling successful learning for instance. In the later stages, the role of teachers in AfL should evolve to a more informing and inspiring one, for instance to allow students to discuss ‘Where Am I Now?’ and ‘How Do I Get to Next Step?’. Such a framework complements well-known AfL framework (e.g. Wiliam and Leahy, 2015) by emphasizing AfL as not just a set of strategies or IT tools (e.g. using ‘traffic lights’ or using ‘Kahoot’), but also intentional (subject-general) process that supports learning. The lessons and resources designed in this project make use of this framework.


What studies say about differences in AfL across subjects

Studies have also shown that there may be differences in how AfL is actualised across subjects (Hodgen & Marshall, 2005; Marshall, 2007). The differences are typically found between the Arts (English Language and the Humanities) and the Sciences (Maths and Science). AfL process in the Arts tend to develop and widen students’ thinking more and interventions are often impromptu. AfL process in the Sciences, on the other hand, tend to be diagnostic in nature, meant to identify and close a specific learning gap (Marshall, 2007). One possible reason could be how the subjects have historically been taught, with the teaching of Arts and Humanities traditionally rooted in the socio-cultural/constructivist and the Maths and Sciences in the cognitive, constructivist theories of learning (Hodgen & Marshall, 2005).

Due to the varying levels of assessment literacy among the teachers, some teachers might carry out Assessment for Learning (AfL) without consciously realizing that they were doing so. Nevertheless, most of them seemed to understand that AfL help bridge what teachers taught with what students learned. Teachers constantly moved between the AfL process of “Explaining”, “Exploring” and “Engaging” as the lesson moved along.


An activity could also simultaneously reflect different stages overlapping. For example, a teacher could explore what students understood about the expected standards of a task by asking questions. At the same time, he/she could explain in greater detail what those expected standards were even as he/she asked these questions. The teachers observed not only carried out the three AfL stages iteratively, they did so in a non-linear fashion.


We also noted the AfL process of “Explaining”, “Exploring” and “Engaging” need not be conducted solely by the teacher but should involve student’s initiations as well. In many cases, AfL offered opportunities for greater student engagement, for example, students can “Explain” the success criteria for a given task to each other. Different students benefitted from starting, overlapping and emphasizing different stage of this process.


Videos of Enacted AfL Process

Videos of the enacted AfL process across different subjects can be found below. Accompanying materials and some subject-specific concerns, as suggested by subject experts, are also detailed.


Enacted AfL Lessons Videos Accompany Materials Feedback from Consultants/Research team:
English Language Lesson (Sec 2) with Mr Alfred Liu Hao Wei of Woodlands Ring Secondary School

Many good attempts to give opportunities for students to assist each other.

There is a tension of the teacher still wanting students to be able to respond according to summative assessment requirements (only), rather than focusing on skills and competency.

Geography Lesson (Sec 3) with Ms Aruna Govind of Woodlands Ring Secondary School

Potentially, AfL can help to bridge different sub-topics together for a more thorough discussion.

Mathematics Lesson (Sec 3) with Ms Lynn Yeo of Mayflower Secondary School

Asking the right questions goes a long way in accurately assessing where students are in their learning and in surfacing misconceptions.

Science Lesson (Sec 3) with Ms Jeevana Rani of Mayflower Secondary School

Pre-empting students’ misconceptions will help teachers address them when students encounter them.

Table 1: Videos of enacted AfL process in different subjects


How did the research participants respond?

The understanding of AfL process and proficiency in carrying them out differed from teacher to teacher. As such, after reviewing their lesson plans with the research team, each teacher might have revised their lesson plans in different ways. More details of the changes made to the lessons could be found in the handouts accompanying the videos. Some of the changes made were:


  • Explaining more explicitly the expectations and standards, and referring to them constantly throughout the lesson, not just at the beginning of the lesson.

  • Including more opportunities to elicit evidence of learning and giving immediate feedback within the lesson as opposed to after the lesson.

  • Adjusting the time to be spent for each activity in the lesson to ensure that enough time is given for students to learn instead of rushing to complete the scheme of work.

  • Teachers acknowledged that when they spent more time and attention to consciously carry out AfL in the class, learning became more effective. However, they were concerned that AfL took up more time, especially when group discussions were involved.

Teachers need to understand how to adapt AfL process in different lessons and student contexts. We hope that the four case studies will help teachers to have a starting point on this. They should not be apologetic about ‘taking time’ for students to learn in lessons. Neither should they feel guilty about ‘switching into’ an examination preparation mode occasionally.


We agree with Carless (2010) and McMillan (2010) who have suggested that AfL could be thought of not as a single entity in the classroom but rather as a family of practices that differed in certain characteristics or levels of formative-ness in different types of classrooms (see Table 2). We also propose that an explicit embedding or linking of AfL process to Singapore Teaching Practice (STP) framework can help teachers to make sense of the essential connectivity of teaching areas that are already highlighted in the framework. Indeed, such a connectivity exemplify how AfL is the essential bridge between teaching and learning in the everyday classroom context.


Characteristics High-level Formative Low-level Formative
Evidence of student learning
(Refer to STP’s Pedagogical Practice: Lesson Preparation)

Varied assessment items, from objective (standardized) to anecdotal (self-selected)

Mostly objective (standardized) assessment items

Participants involved/Choice of task
(Refer to STP’s Pedagogical Practice: Lesson Preparation)

Teacher and students-directed

Teacher-directed

Instructional adjustments
(Refer to STP’s Pedagogical Practice: Lesson Enactment)

Highly flexible and attending to individual students in-situ

Highly scripted and delayed

Feedback
(Refer to STP’s Pedagogical Practice: Assessment and Feedback)

Immediate and specific for low-progress students, delayed for high progress students

Mostly delayed for all students

Role of student self-assessment
(Refer to STP’s Pedagogical Practice: Assessment and Feedback)

Integral

None or minimal

Motivation
(Refer to STP’s Pedagogical Practice: Positive Classroom Culture)

Intrinsic

Extrinsic (do well for exam only)

Classroom culture
(Refer to STP’s Pedagogical Practice: Positive Classroom Culture)

Informal, interactive and safe haven for making mistakes

Formal and competitive

Table 2: Variations of formative assessment characteristics (Adapted from McMillan, 2010, pg. 43)


According to Table 2, AfL can vary according to how each characteristic is defined and put into a process of classroom practices. At one end, of this continuum, low-level formative assessment resembles summative assessment, but yet there could be important learning out of even such a context (e.g. being careful, time management etc.). We propose however this is considered only low-level formative assessment. On the other end, the focus is on individual student’s learning and the emphasis could be more on developing student dispositions through self-assessing activities, focusing on intrinsic motivation and building a culture where mistakes can be made and learnt from. We need to see more examples of this, and the four case studies in this project illustrate the possibilities and also room for improvements. We recommend that high-level formative assessment (that is not just aligned to exam performance) can be more widely practised across Singaporean schools.


School leaders and key personnel should assist their teachers by to understand that the essence of AfL process can be evident through the different Pedagogical Practices in STP as already noted in Table 2 above. Providing an organisational assessment planning frame that goes beyond ‘curriculum coverage’ (and summative assessment weightings) will afford their students and themselves, more sophisticated attention to different AfL that can be possible in different lessons. Subject and assessment specialists and researchers should work in tandem to help teachers identify full range of learning evidence, such that an inclusive range of student’s achievement and learning progress can be discerned differentially through appropriate assessment practices.


Some further points to ponder:

  • While effective use of AfL can lead to good performance in examinations, what other tangible outcomes can there be in everyday class context?

  • How may AfL differ in different subjects/disciplines and at different points of curriculum?

  • How can school leaders and key personnel provide more guidance to when and how can high-level formative assessment be adapted for more prevalent ‘day-to-day’ classroom context?

  • What are some AfL practices that cannot be observed in the classrooms but could be more visible in co-curricular activities?

Tay, H. Y. (2019, July 5). Assessment for Learning (AfL): It’s all about the students and their learning. [Video clip]. Retrieved from https://www.nie.edu.sg/news-detail/assessment-for-learning-(afl)-it-s-all-about-the-students-and-their-learning

  • Black, P., & Wiliam, D. (1998). Assessment and classroom learning. Assessment in Education, 5(1), 7–74.

  • Black, P., Harrison, C., Lee, C., Marshall, B., & Wiliam, D. (2004). Working inside the black box: Assessment for learning in the classroom. Phi delta kappan, 86(1), 8–21.

  • Hodgen, J., & Marshall, B. (2005). Assessment for learning in English and mathematics: A comparison. Curriculum journal, 16(2), 153-176.

  • Keeley, P. (2008). Science formative assessment. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin

  • Klenowski, V. (2009). Assessment for Learning revisited: an Asia-Pacific perspective. Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice, 16(3), 263–268.

  • Lee, I. (2011). Bringing innovation to EFL writing through a focus on assessment for learning. Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching, 5(1), 19–33.

  • Leong, W.S., Tan, K., Tay, H.Y., Deneen, C.C., Fulmer, G.W., Lam, K., Lin, R.C., and Lipnevich, A. (2019). Perceptions, policies and practices: AfL in the Singapore context (OER Research Report). Singapore: GPL-NIE.

  • Marshall, B. (2007). Formative classroom assessment in English, the humanities and social sciences. In J. H. McMillan (Ed.), Formative classroom assessment: Theory into practice (pp. 136-151). New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

  • McMillan, J. H. (2010). The practical implications of educational aims and contexts for formative assessment. In H. L. Andrade & G. J. Cizek (Eds), Handbook of formative assessment (pp. 41–58). New York: Routledge.

  • Swaffield, S. (2011). Getting to the heart of authentic assessment for learning. Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice, 18(4), 433–449.

  • Tang, Y. (2013). A case study of formative assessment in a Chinese high school. Indonesian Journal of Applied Linguistics, 2(2), 216–225.

  • Question-Icon
    Research team

    To learn more about the AfL project, please contact Ms Haslinda Ismail at Haslinda.Ismail@nie.edu.sg or oerkmob@nie.edu.sg.



      Principal Investigator
    • Dr Leong Wei Shin, MOE (formerly of NIE)

      Consultants
    • Dr Tan Kok Siang, Natural Sciences and Science Education, (NSSE), NIE

    • Dr Dawn Ng Kit Ee, Mathematics and Mathematics Education (MME), NIE

    • Dr Sally Ann Jones, English Language and Literature (ELL), NIE

    • Dr Dorothy Tricia Seow Ing Chin, Humanities & Social Studies Education (HSSE)

      Research Associate
    • Ms Haslinda Bte Ismail, Learning Sciences and Assessment (LSA), NIE

      Intern
    • Ms Lee Yu Xian
    Research led by
    Author Principal Investigator
    Dr Leong Wei Shin, MOE (formerly of NIE)

    To learn more, email: Haslinda.Ismail@nie.edu.sg or oerkmob@nie.edu.sg.

    Phase of education

    Secondary school

    Academic subject

    English, Geography, Math, Science

    Research Participants

    m-prose-icon 4 teachers

    m-prose-icon Students in the class taught by the teachers

    Assessment for Learning

    Assessment for Learning in Singapore Secondary Schools: Case Studies of Professional Learning

    Question-Icon
    How Assessment for Learning (AfL) can help students
    • Assessment for Learning (AfL) has been known to
      • improve achievement outcomes (Black & Wiliam, 1998, 2018; Black et al., 2004)

      • promote student engagement and autonomy (Klenowksi, 2009; Swaffield, 2011)

      • increase student intrinsic motivation (Lee, 2011; Tang, 2013)

    • These case studies are offered as starting points for teachers to access instances of AfL in the local context and adapt ideas into their own classrooms.
    Question-Icon
    Why case studies on lessons incorporating Assessment for Learning?

    As the Singapore educational landscape continues to strive towards a more balanced assessment system, schools are turning to Assessment for Learning (AfL) to complement the practice and influence of summative assessment. This is particularly important with recent policy initiatives such as the restriction in the number of weighted assessments in Singapore schools and advancing teacher’s assessment literacy.


    These case studies are offered as starting points for teachers to access instances of AfL in the local context and adapt ideas into their own classrooms. They illustrate how AfL can and should be adapted in different subject and classroom contexts.



    Question-Icon
    What was the research about?

    The research team worked with four secondary school teachers (teaching English, Geography, Math and Science) to review their lessons. We wanted to focus on the secondary school context as we noted there are more known examples of AfL practices in the primary school context. It has also been reported in literature that secondary school teachers have encountered more difficulties in enacting AfL (McMillan, 2010).


    In this research, secondary school teachers were interviewed and comments were given on their lesson plans to help them think further about incorporating AfL process (see framework below). Subject specific issues were also surfaced and discussed, with help from the consultants who were experts in the different subjects. The team observed and video-recorded the teachers’ lessons and conducted a review. A lesson package comprising a video clip, resources and handout was then created from the data collected.


    Lesson plans and resources from eight other teachers were also reviewed to give a more general view of how teachers understand and carry out AfL. Although these teachers were not video-recorded or interviewed formally, insights gleaned helped provide a clear picture of how AfL was enacted as well as suggest subject-specific issues.


    Adopting learner-centred AfL process

    An earlier research on perceptions, policies and practices of AfL in 13 secondary schools (Leong et al., 2019) suggested that:

    • Teachers conducted narrow sets of performance-oriented AfL practices where they were too focused on helping students achieve high grades in summative assessment.
    • Such practices might appear to help students do well in specific tasks found in exams but might not necessarily develop in their students the skills and knowledge necessary beyond exams.

    Hence, a framework was developed by the research team to guide teachers towards a more learner-centred AfL process that aimed for achieving broader learning outcomes (see Figure 1). We believe such deliberate re-orientation will support student’s life-long learning endeavours.

    AFL Process

    Figure 1: Framework of Learner-Centred AfL Process ( view larger image )

    (more research findings on AfL can be found here:https://sites.google.com/view/ctl-assessment/AfL)


    The framework emphasised AfL as an iterative process that can have different starting points, with the ultimate goal of enabling students to take ownership of their learning. For instance, it is typical in the beginning of a sequence of teaching-learning of a topic, to help students to understand clearly ‘Where am I Heading?’ through explaining learning objectives, discussing rubrics and students’ artifacts. In such a stage of AfL, teachers are likely to take on a more instructive role of modelling successful learning for instance. In the later stages, the role of teachers in AfL should evolve to a more informing and inspiring one, for instance to allow students to discuss ‘Where Am I Now?’ and ‘How Do I Get to Next Step?’. Such a framework complements well-known AfL framework (e.g. Wiliam and Leahy, 2015) by emphasizing AfL as not just a set of strategies or IT tools (e.g. using ‘traffic lights’ or using ‘Kahoot’), but also intentional (subject-general) process that supports learning. The lessons and resources designed in this project make use of this framework.


    What studies say about differences in AfL across subjects

    Studies have also shown that there may be differences in how AfL is actualised across subjects (Hodgen & Marshall, 2005; Marshall, 2007). The differences are typically found between the Arts (English Language and the Humanities) and the Sciences (Maths and Science). AfL process in the Arts tend to develop and widen students’ thinking more and interventions are often impromptu. AfL process in the Sciences, on the other hand, tend to be diagnostic in nature, meant to identify and close a specific learning gap (Marshall, 2007). One possible reason could be how the subjects have historically been taught, with the teaching of Arts and Humanities traditionally rooted in the socio-cultural/constructivist and the Maths and Sciences in the cognitive, constructivist theories of learning (Hodgen & Marshall, 2005).

    Question-Icon
    Key findings


    Due to the varying levels of assessment literacy among the teachers, some teachers might carry out Assessment for Learning (AfL) without consciously realizing that they were doing so. Nevertheless, most of them seemed to understand that AfL help bridge what teachers taught with what students learned. Teachers constantly moved between the AfL process of “Explaining”, “Exploring” and “Engaging” as the lesson moved along.


    An activity could also simultaneously reflect different stages overlapping. For example, a teacher could explore what students understood about the expected standards of a task by asking questions. At the same time, he/she could explain in greater detail what those expected standards were even as he/she asked these questions. The teachers observed not only carried out the three AfL stages iteratively, they did so in a non-linear fashion.


    We also noted the AfL process of “Explaining”, “Exploring” and “Engaging” need not be conducted solely by the teacher but should involve student’s initiations as well. In many cases, AfL offered opportunities for greater student engagement, for example, students can “Explain” the success criteria for a given task to each other. Different students benefitted from starting, overlapping and emphasizing different stage of this process.


    Videos of Enacted AfL Process

    Videos of the enacted AfL process across different subjects can be found below. Accompanying materials and some subject-specific concerns, as suggested by subject experts, are also detailed.


    Enacted AfL Lessons Videos Accompany Materials Feedback from Consultants/Research team:
    English Language Lesson (Sec 2) with Mr Alfred Liu Hao Wei of Woodlands Ring Secondary School

    Many good attempts to give opportunities for students to assist each other.

    There is a tension of the teacher still wanting students to be able to respond according to summative assessment requirements (only), rather than focusing on skills and competency.

    Geography Lesson (Sec 3) with Ms Aruna Govind of Woodlands Ring Secondary School

    Potentially, AfL can help to bridge different sub-topics together for a more thorough discussion.

    Mathematics Lesson (Sec 3) with Ms Lynn Yeo of Mayflower Secondary School

    Asking the right questions goes a long way in accurately assessing where students are in their learning and in surfacing misconceptions.

    Science Lesson (Sec 3) with Ms Jeevana Rani of Mayflower Secondary School

    Pre-empting students’ misconceptions will help teachers address them when students encounter them.

    Table 1: Videos of enacted AfL process in different subjects


    How did the research participants respond?

    The understanding of AfL process and proficiency in carrying them out differed from teacher to teacher. As such, after reviewing their lesson plans with the research team, each teacher might have revised their lesson plans in different ways. More details of the changes made to the lessons could be found in the handouts accompanying the videos. Some of the changes made were:

    • Explaining more explicitly the expectations and standards, and referring to them constantly throughout the lesson, not just at the beginning of the lesson.
    • Including more opportunities to elicit evidence of learning and giving immediate feedback within the lesson as opposed to after the lesson.
    • Adjusting the time to be spent for each activity in the lesson to ensure that enough time is given for students to learn instead of rushing to complete the scheme of work.
    • Teachers acknowledged that when they spent more time and attention to consciously carry out AfL in the class, learning became more effective. However, they were concerned that AfL took up more time, especially when group discussions were involved.
    Question-Icon
    Recommendations for schools

    Teachers need to understand how to adapt AfL process in different lessons and student contexts. We hope that the four case studies will help teachers to have a starting point on this. They should not be apologetic about ‘taking time’ for students to learn in lessons. Neither should they feel guilty about ‘switching into’ an examination preparation mode occasionally.


    We agree with Carless (2010) and McMillan (2010) who have suggested that AfL could be thought of not as a single entity in the classroom but rather as a family of practices that differed in certain characteristics or levels of formative-ness in different types of classrooms (see Table 2). We also propose that an explicit embedding or linking of AfL process to Singapore Teaching Practice (STP) framework can help teachers to make sense of the essential connectivity of teaching areas that are already highlighted in the framework. Indeed, such a connectivity exemplify how AfL is the essential bridge between teaching and learning in the everyday classroom context.


    Characteristics High-level Formative Low-level Formative
    Evidence of student learning
    (Refer to STP’s Pedagogical Practice: Lesson Preparation)

    Varied assessment items, from objective (standardized) to anecdotal (self-selected)

    Mostly objective (standardized) assessment items

    Participants involved/Choice of task
    (Refer to STP’s Pedagogical Practice: Lesson Preparation)

    Teacher and students-directed

    Teacher-directed

    Instructional adjustments
    (Refer to STP’s Pedagogical Practice: Lesson Enactment)

    Highly flexible and attending to individual students in-situ

    Highly scripted and delayed

    Feedback
    (Refer to STP’s Pedagogical Practice: Assessment and Feedback)

    Immediate and specific for low-progress students, delayed for high progress students

    Mostly delayed for all students

    Role of student self-assessment
    (Refer to STP’s Pedagogical Practice: Assessment and Feedback)

    Integral

    None or minimal

    Motivation
    (Refer to STP’s Pedagogical Practice: Positive Classroom Culture)

    Intrinsic

    Extrinsic (do well for exam only)

    Classroom culture
    (Refer to STP’s Pedagogical Practice: Positive Classroom Culture)

    Informal, interactive and safe haven for making mistakes

    Formal and competitive

    Table 2: Variations of formative assessment characteristics (Adapted from McMillan, 2010, pg. 43)


    According to Table 2, AfL can vary according to how each characteristic is defined and put into a process of classroom practices. At one end, of this continuum, low-level formative assessment resembles summative assessment, but yet there could be important learning out of even such a context (e.g. being careful, time management etc.). We propose however this is considered only low-level formative assessment. On the other end, the focus is on individual student’s learning and the emphasis could be more on developing student dispositions through self-assessing activities, focusing on intrinsic motivation and building a culture where mistakes can be made and learnt from. We need to see more examples of this, and the four case studies in this project illustrate the possibilities and also room for improvements. We recommend that high-level formative assessment (that is not just aligned to exam performance) can be more widely practised across Singaporean schools.


    School leaders and key personnel should assist their teachers by to understand that the essence of AfL process can be evident through the different Pedagogical Practices in STP as already noted in Table 2 above. Providing an organisational assessment planning frame that goes beyond ‘curriculum coverage’ (and summative assessment weightings) will afford their students and themselves, more sophisticated attention to different AfL that can be possible in different lessons. Subject and assessment specialists and researchers should work in tandem to help teachers identify full range of learning evidence, such that an inclusive range of student’s achievement and learning progress can be discerned differentially through appropriate assessment practices.


    Some further points to ponder:

    • While effective use of AfL can lead to good performance in examinations, what other tangible outcomes can there be in everyday class context?
    • How may AfL differ in different subjects/disciplines and at different points of curriculum?
    • How can school leaders and key personnel provide more guidance to when and how can high-level formative assessment be adapted for more prevalent ‘day-to-day’ classroom context?
    • What are some AfL practices that cannot be observed in the classrooms but could be more visible in co-curricular activities?
    Question-Icon
    Related links

    Tay, H. Y. (2019, July 5). Assessment for Learning (AfL): It’s all about the students and their learning. [Video clip]. Retrieved from https://www.nie.edu.sg/news-detail/assessment-for-learning-(afl)-it-s-all-about-the-students-and-their-learning

    Question-Icon
    Further readings

  • Black, P., & Wiliam, D. (1998). Assessment and classroom learning. Assessment in Education, 5(1), 7–74.
  • Black, P., Harrison, C., Lee, C., Marshall, B., & Wiliam, D. (2004). Working inside the black box: Assessment for learning in the classroom. Phi delta kappan, 86(1), 8–21.
  • Hodgen, J., & Marshall, B. (2005). Assessment for learning in English and mathematics: A comparison. Curriculum journal, 16(2), 153-176.
  • Keeley, P. (2008). Science formative assessment. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin
  • Klenowski, V. (2009). Assessment for Learning revisited: an Asia-Pacific perspective. Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice, 16(3), 263–268.
  • Lee, I. (2011). Bringing innovation to EFL writing through a focus on assessment for learning. Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching, 5(1), 19–33.
  • Leong, W.S., Tan, K., Tay, H.Y., Deneen, C.C., Fulmer, G.W., Lam, K., Lin, R.C., and Lipnevich, A. (2019). Perceptions, policies and practices: AfL in the Singapore context (OER Research Report). Singapore: GPL-NIE.
  • Marshall, B. (2007). Formative classroom assessment in English, the humanities and social sciences. In J. H. McMillan (Ed.), Formative classroom assessment: Theory into practice (pp. 136-151). New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
  • McMillan, J. H. (2010). The practical implications of educational aims and contexts for formative assessment. In H. L. Andrade & G. J. Cizek (Eds), Handbook of formative assessment (pp. 41–58). New York: Routledge.
  • Swaffield, S. (2011). Getting to the heart of authentic assessment for learning. Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice, 18(4), 433–449.
  • Tang, Y. (2013). A case study of formative assessment in a Chinese high school. Indonesian Journal of Applied Linguistics, 2(2), 216–225.
  • Question-Icon
    Research team

    To learn more about the AfL project, please contact Ms Haslinda Ismail at Haslinda.Ismail@nie.edu.sg or oerkmob@nie.edu.sg.



      Principal Investigator
    • Dr Leong Wei Shin, MOE (formerly of NIE)
      Consultants
    • Dr Tan Kok Siang, Natural Sciences and Science Education, (NSSE), NIE
    • Dr Dawn Ng Kit Ee, Mathematics and Mathematics Education (MME), NIE
    • Dr Sally Ann Jones, English Language and Literature (ELL), NIE
    • Dr Dorothy Tricia Seow Ing Chin, Humanities & Social Studies Education (HSSE)
      Research Associate
    • Ms Haslinda Bte Ismail, Learning Sciences and Assessment (LSA), NIE
      Intern
    • Ms Lee Yu Xian

    This study was funded by the National Institute of Education (NIE), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (RS 3/18 LWS). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of NIE.


    Research was conducted under auspices of institutional review board reference IRB-2018-10-061.


    This knowledge resource was written by Dr Leong Wei Shin and Haslinda Bte Ismail with minor inputs from Tan Giam Hwee.

    Phase of education

    Secondary school

    Academic subject

    English, Geography, Math, Science

    Research Participants

    m-prose-icon 4 teachers

    m-prose-icon Students in the class taught by the teachers