All entries for Monday 25 November 2019

November 25, 2019

How can assessment encourage & motivate learners to succeed, academically & socially? Brogan

How can assessment encourage and motivate learners to succeed, academically and socially? - Brogan

Assessment is a fundamental element of teaching and learning for both students and teachers. It allows teachers to receive feedback on how well students have understood the content that has been taught. This feedback can then be used by the teacher to assess their own teaching and reflect upon its merits and areas which could be improved. It also allows the teacher to have an insight into how students are thinking or approaching the taught material. It can highlight areas of common misconceptions or areas of confusion for students, allowing teachers to address this.

A less commonly cited benefit of assessment is its ability to motivate students socially. In my own teaching practice, I find that summative and formative testing allows me to pinpoint my students’ individual strengths and weakness, thereby aiding me when it comes to classroom differentiation. I use this information to ensure that my questions are at an appropriate level for the individual learner, allowing them the chance to contribute to the class. I believe that this approach can boost a learners’ confidence and motivation to learn, rather than embarrassing them in front of their peers. Building students’ confidence helps to promote a more student-centred environment, where students are encouraged to take part in activities such as class discussions and peer review. I feel that promoting peer review activities in my own classroom and incorporating an element of fun such as team competitions has helped promote engagement and discussion within the class. I have found for example, giving the students more autonomy over the direction of the discussion leads to the emergence of good learning and teaching opportunities; particularly when real life examples that are relevant to the learners are linked back to biology.

I have also found that asking for feedback before an assessment is a good way to help students evaluate their own learning. I ask them to give me a brief note on what topics they think they are good at, could improve more and are struggling with before they sit a summative test. I use this information to guide my revision plan. During their revision I also help them to explore different revision techniques.

I strongly agree that it is more important to praise effort over intelligence, as argued by Mueller and Dweck (1998). This point resonates with me, as I am keen to instil a growth mindset within my students and encourage and motivate them to work hard to improve (Dweck, 2015). For example, I will use formative assessment tasks as a way to give helpful comments such as action points to guide students on how they can improve, rather than focussing on the mark (Black and William 1998).


Black, P. and Wiliam, D., 1998. Assessment and classroom learning. Assessment in Education: principles, policy & practice, 5(1), pp.7-74.

Dweck, C., 2015. Carol Dweck revisits the growth mindset. Education Week, 35(5), pp.20-24.

Mueller, C.M. and Dweck, C.S., 1998. Praise for intelligence can undermine children's motivation and performance. Journal of personality and social psychology, 75(1), p.33.

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