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Major issues about AFL and AOL

Assessment is a fundamental tool for teaching and learning. Assessment for and assessment of learning are different strategies that have long enabled teachers to collect tangible evidence that enables them to make strong decisions regarding student progress and achievement. They are not discrete methodologies and might be used together or separately. The distinction between AFL and AOL is usually viewed as parallel to the longstanding separation between formative and summative valuation. To place teacher feedback within the current literature on learning assessment, this report attempts to discuss major issues about AFL and AOL.

Discussion

In different works of literature, AFL and AOL have long been viewed as two different concepts. AFL aims at eliciting evidence concerning the amount of knowledge and ability of a student. It usually requires an administrative process, such as assigning grades or placing them in the right classes. On the other hand, AOL aims to contribute to the overall student learning process through the dissemination of information concerning their individual performances (Gardner & Gardner, 2012). While AOL is often conducted at the end of the course, AFL is a continuous process.

The key principles of AFL and AOL as learning strategies have some shared elements. In addition, AFL and AOL can be viewed as one of the most promising teaching approaches used to enhance learning (Dwyer, 1998). Various studies show that students with those pedagogical approaches improve their achievement and have a strong self-perception. However, despite the many promises, there have been numerous barriers preventing teachers from utilizing these strategies in their classrooms (Mercier, 2013). The time and size of a class are some of the conceptual confusions related to assessment. Others include misalignment between the priorities of a system and the learning practices, among others. Such issues pose critical challenges in promoting the implementation of pedagogical approaches in classrooms.

The concept of learning assessment alone doesn’t deliver the expectations of both teaching strategies. Through experience, I have learned that we only position the key principles within the contexts of a particular pedagogy. However, they have not developed a theoretical concept. Black et al. (2006) explored the transformation that occurs in the classroom of teachers creating a formative assessment. He offers hypothetical frameworks for the study of various classrooms. Most of the theoretical frameworks are often stuck in the data collection stage in classrooms and interviews. Moreover, challenges have also been faced in the systematic attempts to link records to be effective on such topics as school practices (Coltman, 2008).

The grading function of formative valuation is important for all teaching practices. In the United States, students are required to write at least a ten-page report on different topics. Mainly, single drafts with assessments focusing on the final score of the students obtained during the school year (Bender, 2012). Apparently, student learning serves as a summative objective, with teacher feedback being utilized to evaluate the overall performance of a student in a prospective manner, in addition to the opportunity for a student to act on the teacher’s feedback. The follow-up sessions are used to shed more light on the functions of teacher feedback. For every teacher, the primary objective of teaching is construed in their individual strategies. Weinstein et al. (1988) terms development of learning accuracy, which can elaborate on the precision of feedback received.

Assessment for Learning in the United States is one of the key priorities in learning languages. The oral assessment initiative in school-based assessments at secondary stages four and five is one of the latest approaches put in place to promote AOL and AFL. Research on AFL is gradually growing in learning languages in the United States. Some include Kyriacou (2007) on Assessment for Learning and Brooks (2012) on school-based assessment in higher grades. In writing sessions, several initiatives have been implemented to assess different learning strategies. Such includes portfolios, conferencing, and checklists.

Process writing has been recommended by many researchers since it enhances teaching and learning. Silberman (1996) suggests that teachers often provide feedback on student drafts, focusing on the idea of developing language and style. Therefore, it is recommended against focusing too much on language. Instead, more emphasis should be placed on adopting updated traditional product-based approaches to the learning process, with the final outcome viewed as a display of learners’ ability to learn by themselves accurately (Graham, 1993).

Assessment is simply a judgment in various parameters, such as standards, criteria, and context. Such parameters might be implicit. For instance, in the evaluator’s mind, or they might be shared. Graham (1993) contends that “making them clear allows us to understand, and thus improving it.” The clear description requires subjective criteria to be right in accordance with the set standards. Therefore, the assessor is able to communicate the “why” and “what” concerns as embedded in the assessment or the final results. Weinstein (1988) poised that “with the concept of formative valuation, there are multiple criteria that focus on the significance of sharing the principle criteria above being cognizant of the basics that only come into play during the evaluation of social and behavioral sciences.”

Within the field of science, assessments might be represented in a summative judgment, such as grades or marks, based on the agreed scale. It is later used to justify the final judgment. Teacher response requires all feedback to be utilized for it to be justified feedback. Otherwise, it is just information from the assessor (Wilcox, 2008). Therefore, it is important to understand the key considerations and information from the evaluator as the principal condition for formative feedback. DeLuca & Klinger (2010) maintain that “AFL and AOL require implicit or explicit judgment to offer feedback, which might be utilized as formative feedback.” The author provides this formulation to denote this: SA + feedback = FA.

The formula offers a clear definition of the important terms of assessment, how they associate with each other, and the key processes that connect them. In this context, assessment is described as a process that does not incorporate any form of functionality. Therefore, the process of teacher assessment can only occur when feedback has been utilized to improve work. Such is the theory that can be utilized to elaborate assessment for learning since it supports the key principles of the strategy. In addition, it provides clarifications to the processes, and thus, it can be improved.

For teachers, it usually involves a huge transformation of their roles, from a content presenter to a practitioner of developed pedagogy. As a result, there is a shared responsibility for learning between the teachers and students. Lee &Coniam (2013), through the theory of proximal development, indicates that “the key objective of teaching is encouraging the students to be independent of the teacher” (137). Assessment of learning often involves the teacher aligning to a set of procedures that allow the student to work independently in a certain field.

During the learning process, learners are assisted in setting their individual goals based on the assessment information. The process makes learning decisions that are associated with their own development, thus creating a better understanding of the nature of quality work. Students assess themselves and seek the appropriate ways of moving to the next level. Even though the theories under AOL have been discussed for a long period, there is limited information on how the strategy can be implemented. The AOL framework is often proposed with the objective of bridging the gap between theory and practice.

The pedagogies used by a teacher could significantly affect the quality of student learning. Education is a constant search for innovation that results in improved teaching practices with the goal of improving student learning. Such frameworks are necessary to enhance improvement as they offer a clear way of examining various possibilities. They allow focusing the attention on the key elements of teaching and learning that are primary to all individual theories. They offer well-defined ways of describing and explaining the teaching and learning process with the support of ontological perspectives.

Denby (2012) indicates that a well-developed framework should offer strong connections between theory and practice that should inspire teachers. Framework development requires high strategic awareness. Strategic awareness directs the focus toward some of the unattended factors using a selected frame of reference. The newly designed framework will, therefore, help focus on and offer new ways of conceptualizing teaching and learning. AOL intends to focus on the idea of teaching from a new angle, which is an assessment with respect to learners taking active roles in their individual learning.

Even though the structures of a framework can be different, in developing a new framework, it is important to understand the expectations as well as the reality of the situation. Ellis, (2013) provides that “the approach towards developing a new framework under AOL should start by defining the expectations.” It is preceded by observing the reality surrounding the new domain and a comparative analysis of the two.

The Contextual theory within the AOL pedagogy posits that government policies are focused on student development or “students learning how to learn”. The main objective is to make assessment a framework for activating independent learning. The concept emphasises on taking assessments as a process of metacognition for students. Assessment policies often revolve around learning processes, mainly focusing on the students. Official documentation might contain comprehensive guidelines on the role of teachers in the learning process (Parker, 1981).

Drawing on the government assessment framework, learning assessments can focus on improving student’s ability to learn. For instance, the process can help in enhancing their critical thinking. Further directions can be provided to offer better opportunities for learners both in their individual capacities and in groups. Such would help to reflect and analyze their overall performance and adopt new frameworks to move forward to the next learning process.

The Societal Concept

In this theory, one would like to see that society views assessment as a tool for the development of new abilities to deal with different challenges in life. Teachers should understand that numbers shown in documentation only depict several qualities of the student. Therefore, it is important to understand that assessment is not primarily a way of evaluating a student’s performance. They need to recognize that assessment is primarily the responsibility of the student, with much emphasis on the latter. Therefore, it would facilitate both the psychological and mental readiness of the students towards dealing with an individual assessment while the student is under their care.

Learners should realize that learning assessment is an opportunity for them to develop independent learning. Moreover, they would also understand that assessment processes are just tools to assist them in monitoring learning progress and the level they are at. With updated information, students will focus on improving their work as well as acknowledge the significance of the internal processes of assessment, and utilise external assessment as a necessity for support (Arends, 2012).

The concept of communication under AOL often makes society develop a consensus on the function of enhancing learning in assessment. Assessment is presented to the various parties as a tool that learners and teachers can utilize to enhance the learning process. Teachers act as supporters of the learning process by guiding and assisting students in developing the right attitude about learning. Through different forms of discussion between the learners and teachers, students are made to understand the significance of quality work. Moreover, they are offered the opportunity to check their progress against the set standards and come up with the appropriate plans to improve once they meet the standards.

The action domain is another theoretical concept under the learning strategies. When used in daily teachings, teachers can utilize a multifaceted assessment framework to offer students different forms of the learning experience. Teachers choose and develop better assessment methods for use based on the individual needs of the learners. They offer individual assessment techniques for learners and help them develop high-quality individual assessments. Educators can try utilizing smaller tasks in order to make prompt feedback possible (Kelley, 2010).

Assessment feedback must be constructive, with the principal objective of acknowledging student accomplishments. Such a move would help them understand what they have achieved and how to improve from there. Through written communication or dialogue, teachers can assist students in applying the most appropriate strategies, which would be useful for their learning. For students, the actions will involve significant evolvement in their individual learning process (Dillon, 2011).

Within the concept of action domain, learners will be supported in understanding various standards. For instance, the standards would require a detailed explanation of what the actions entail. Students establish their individual learning goals and select the appropriate strategies to complete an assessment. They document the progress and note some of the key issues that require more attention. The undertaking is often followed by working out various ways of improving their work.

Both learning frameworks are built through the integration of different theoretical concepts: social, communication, and actions. In the assessment of learning, the three concepts are integrated in a dynamic manner, with a constant change in definition, plans of action, and a better understanding of various societal perceptions. All the evolving definitions are aimed at assisting students to take an active role in the learning process so that they can be more capable of tackling their own individual challenges in and beyond classwork.

Conclusion

The report demonstrates that teacher feedback emphasizes largely summative writing with the objective of improving learning rather than just focusing on assessment for learning. The report also calls for an emphasis on the implementation of both AOL and AFL in the writing study, particularly in the use of feedback for formative assessment (James, 2006).

Despite the gradual changes in the development of school-based curricula and teaching practices, there has been a significant increase in the emphasis on student participation in the learning process. Therefore, a formative approach to learn and develop in accordance with the set standards and instructions is important. Most of the current assessments and teaching practices often encourage students to showcase their current skills and understanding of their passive role in the assessment process rather than encouraging critical thinking and being active in their individual learning (Capel, 2013). The assessment of learning puts more emphasis on the student’s role and highlights the use of learning assessment to improve the ability of the learner to be independent.

Based on the report, we can suggest a collaborative approach between teachers, assessment experts, and students in planning assessment programs. With such an approach, professional learning would confront the often challenging terrain of learning and implement better learning assessment in learning institutions in the context of competing for social, political, and economic issues (Wright, 2008). Moreover, we can also suggest an emphasis on skill development. Educators should acquire the skills and reflect on the various challenges in the integration of assessments and their responsibility in facilitating meaningful assessment programs in classrooms for the purpose of achieving successful outcomes.

References

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Black, P., McCormick, R., James, M., & Pedder, D. (2006). Learning how to learn and assessment for learning: A theoretical inquiry. Research Papers in Education, 21(02), 119-132.

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Wilcox, J. B., Howell, R. D., & Breivik, E. (2008). Questions about formative measurement. Journal of Business Research, 61(12), 1219-1228.

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