Assessing your students (A7)

My assessment for learning focused on Immanuel Kant’s categorical imperative and three of its categories. It is assessment for learning as I can collect the assessment, provide feedback and return it to the students, whereas assessment as learning uses the assessment itself as a basis for encouraging behaviour that should lead to learning (Gregson and Hillier, 2015). It is also distinguished from formative assessment as Swaffield (2011) writes ‘Assessment for learning is a learning and teaching process, while formative assessment is a purpose, and some argue a function of certain assessments’ By certain assessments, Swaffield is referring to summative, gradable assessments.

The assessment is an activity during the lesson after the students have watched a video and had the imperatives explained to them. The assessment follows TLRP principle 5 as it’s its aim is to advance learning by getting the students to apply what they have learnt to a hypothetical situation, and it measures the learning outcome of applying the imperatives by recording their answers. It also follows TLRP principle six, as the dilemmas are encouraged to be solved through collaborative dialogue. Group discussion aimed at solving a common goal has been shown to improve students sense of self-worth and autonomy, developing confidence through developing their views (Gregson, Hillier 2015). While the discussions take place, I walk and listen into the dialogues, providing accessible feedback immediately when necessary and observing the student’s critical thinking and comprehension of content knowledge.

The Assessment Reform Group (1999) write on making assessment accessible ‘Much of this information will come as feedback from the teacher, but some will be through their direct involvement in assessing their own work’. They also go on to say the student’s attitude to lifelong learning is better helped through self-assessment. The students had a chance to peer assess each other’s work through group discussions during the activity. Additionally, before I mark the assessment, I will return them to the students the following lesson, with the categorical imperatives displayed on the PowerPoint. By asking them to get assess their own work further, learning is achieved through the addition of an assessment as a learning stage.

After this, I will collect the sheets and mark them with the captions what went well, even better if and do now. I have observed other teachers at my placement use the same technique, helping frame content in a positive and thus accessible light. As the content will be in their exams it is highly important I know which students understand the categorical imperatives and which don’t. If enough students didn’t understand it then I can plan a revision session and incorporate it another lesson, such as Business ethics which revisits the content through different scenarios. If not, I can spend time with the students individually. I can also consider the discussions I observed of my students to better gauge comprehension levels.

I hope to use the assessment as a means to further the learning of my students by using it as an activity, getting the students to assess their work, and by framing the feedback with positivity. This is done by using the titles ‘even better if’, ‘what went well’ and ‘do now’. I will use the completed assessment to guide the planning of my future lessons.


Gregson, M. (2015) Reflective Teaching in Further, Adult and Vocational Education / Margaret Gregson and Yvonne Hillier ; with Gert Biesta … . London : Bloomsbury Academic, 2015.

Swaffield, S. (2011) “Getting to the Heart of Authentic Assessment for Learning.” Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice, vol. 18, no. 4, 2011, pp. 433–449., doi:10.1080/0969594X.2011.582838.

Group Assessment Reform Group, Assessment Reform (1999),  Assessment for Learning : beyond the Black Box. Cambridge : School of Education, University of Cambridge.

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Published by Coffee & Alex

Alexander Clarke is a sole trader who writes and teaches. He’s published articles, blog posts, short stories and poems. He’s taught philosophy, theology, ESOL and PSHE.

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