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May 11, 2020

Digifest 2020 part two – Abigail Ball

Where they have been made available, the slides for the various sessions are on the link below:

Digital imposter syndrome - Theresa Marriott, digital learning technologist, Bishop Grosseteste University and Kate Bridgeman, teaching enhancement officer, University of Hull

I was quite interested in this session because of the nature of my role and because I am co-lead of the WIHEA Third Space Professional Learning Circle. Many third space professionals view themselves as imposters (although interestingly not with the negative connotations that this presentation implied) so I wanted to see if the presenters had a different perspective to add to the topic. They talked about recognising the signs of digital imposter syndrome including feelings of inadequacy when faced with something new, fear of failure and avoidance. They then moved on to discuss positive steps to help overcome digital imposter syndrome including coaching, the use of a safe/neutral workspaces and drop-in and open-door policies.

Bridging the skills gap: a novel approach to delivering academic skills support

Catriona Matthews from the University of Warwick talked about her experiences of running a pilot programme in an undergraduate classics module, to bridge the student transition skills gap between school or college and university.

Leveraging tech to close student support gaps

Vygo is a mobile platform that enables peer-to-peer tutoring and mentoring for university students via what it calls ‘local tutoring marketplaces.’ Vygo has a mobile app which allows students who need support to contact other students who can provide that support. Joel Di Trapani, co-founder of Vygo and Professor Jonathan Shaw from Coventry University talked about Coventry University’s approach to student support and how they have used Vygo to enable this.

Blackboard Ally

I saw an interesting piece of software at Digifest called Blackboard Ally. This helps staff to make digital content more accessible for students. It works with Moodle; it automatically checks content against WCAG2.1 and AA rules and it generates alternative formats such as semantic HTML and audio braille. This is something that needs to be considered at an institutional level rather than at a departmental level, so I will be encouraging the central Academic Technologies team to explore this further, as I think it is important for our students, particularly in this increased time of online learning.

Digital transformation: the bear in the room – Lindsay Herbert, author of Digital Transformation

According to Lindsay, real transformation comes from tackling problems that matter, but we spend far too much time and energy on ‘elephant in the room’ type problems instead. She argues that we need to tackle ‘the bear in the room’ to create lasting innovations with wide-reaching impact.

Lindsay introduced us to the five stages of personal digital transformation (denial, fear, anger, delight and attachment) and then went on to talk about the BUILD acronym. BUILD is essentially the five stages that all successful transformations have, namely:

  1. Bridge [the gaps between your institution, its stakeholders and the changes happening around it]
  2. Uncover [hidden barriers, useful assets and needed resources to achieve the transformation]
  3. Iterate [use short cycles, test with real users, improve gradually]
  4. Leverage [use successes to access more resources, influence stakeholders and give yourself the space to scale up]
  5. Disseminate [tell people what works and why]!

*These notes are my own personal reflections and have not been endorsed by JISC or the individuals who presented the sessions.

May 05, 2020

Digifest 2020 part one – Abigail Ball

This event (which feels like an eternity ago given lockdown and all of the changes since then) took place across two days in mid-March in Birmingham. Where they have been made available, the slides for the various sessions are on the link below:

Make way for Gen Z - Jonah Stillman, co-founder, author and speaker

This was an interesting keynote on day one where the very engaging Jonah, explained the difference between his generation (Gen Z) and other generations, such as Millennials or Baby Boomers. He described how Gen Z students:

  1. are realistic
  2. are driven (competitive)
  3. suffer from FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) - which is why they always have their devices with them
  4. are Phigital (yes apparently that is a real term and means they are comfortable with a blend of physical and digital experiences)
  5. like to engage in hyper-customisation (which means they expect to be able to choose what they want to read/listen to/watch/eat and when they want to do this - think boxset binging and ordering take-aways)
  6. Do It Themselves (are independent and happy to try give things a go)
  7. are Weconomists (another new term which means they engage in a shared economy)

Whilst most of this was fairly light and quite tongue in cheek in some cases, the important point Jonah was making was that our universities are now multi-generational, and we have to accommodate these generations in our teaching practice. What works or worked for Millennials does not necessarily work for Gen Z students and we need to be much more aware of this. He did not provide answers per se, but he did raise awareness which I guess is the purpose of a keynote.

An evidence-based journey of digital transformation - Gavin McLachlan, vice-principal, chief information officer and librarian, University of Edinburgh

Due to the cancellation of the session I had planned to attend, I missed the first part of this session, but Gavin talked about the importance of digital culture and vision and how an institutional digital strategy needed to be aligned with the culture and vision of that institution. He also talked about the importance of having a digital e-safety policy and how the University of Edinburgh has developed a digital transformation programme which is composed of seven pillars:

  1. Every educator is a digital educator (very apposite)
  2. Every student is a digital student (it was almost as if he were psychic)
  3. Every University service is a digital service
  4. Every decision considers the available evidence
  5. Everyone plans and updates their digital skills (particularly liked this one as Edinburgh mandates two digital skills courses per year; controversial I know but probably necessary especially given Covid-19)
  6. Stop wondering about the future and start predicting the future (easier said than done)
  7. Hyper-connected digital economy and digital community (again much easier said than done but a good aspitation to have)

If you would like to know more, Edinburgh have contributed a case study to the JISC website.

*These notes are my own personal reflections and have not been endorsed by JISC or the individuals who presented the sessions.

December 09, 2019

How can assessment encourage & motivate children to succeed academically & socially? Kei

How can assessment encourage and motivate children to succeed both academically and socially? - Kei

Formative assessments can motivate children to succeed both academically and socially as the evidence of learning can be interpreted by both the child and the teacher to determine the child’s next steps in order for the child to reach closer to their learning goals (Harlen, 2007). For example, in Year 1 English, the ongoing learning objective is to write a sentence using Colourful Semantics. Colourful Semantics is used to teach the syntax of a sentence which includes ‘a who’ (subject), ‘a what doing’ (verb) and ‘a where’ (object). After the children complete their piece of writing on the present progressive tense. The children have access to a help mat with a Remember box that allows the children to independently check their piece of writing. The children are able to edit and improve their writing by checking the success criteria such as: sounding out phonemes, using finger spaces, capital letter and a full stop.

Black and Wiliam states that feedback to any pupil should cater to that individual child, it should offer advice for improvement and avoid comparisons with other children (Black and Wiliam, 1998). Where TN used the Remember Box to check for finger spaces, capital letters and full stops which had done independently. After this, I checked (pink pen) and circled the verb like written as lic and asked him if he remembered the split digraph (i-e) we have been learning this week. He did not remember this but I was able to scaffold the answer to him. TN edited the verb like in his writing (in green pen). I also asked TN, what he was proud of with his writing to which he replied, “I remembered everything in the Remember Box.” As I was offering TN advice on his writing, I noticed that some of the children in my writing group were also eager to receive feedback as well.

Socially, creating an environment where children can assess their work together can also be rewarding for both children involved. An example of this is when I encouraged the children to celebrate RN’s piece of writing which I had projected onto the board. I asked the children, “What can we praise RN for, in her piece of writing?”, to which the children agreed that she successfully used capital letters and finger spaces. Next, we moved on to how we can give advice on improvement. The children discussed with their talk partner and agreed that although RN used a full stop at the end of a sentence, they noticed that the full stop was not touching the line. As a result, the children were able to build a culture in the classroom to give constructive feedback and celebrate each other’s work.


BLACK, P. & WILIAM, D. 1998. Inside the Black Box: Raising Standards Through Classroom Assessment, London, GL Assessment.

Harlen, W. (2007). Assessment of learning. 1st ed. London: Saga Publications.

December 02, 2019

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

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

Assessment is broadly defined as activities that teachers and students undertake to get information that can be used analytically to alter teaching and learning (Black and Williams, 1998).

The two main forms of assessment used are summative and formative. Summative assessment (assessment of learning) aims to record learning that has taken place and formative assessment (assessment for learning) aims to identify aspects of learning as it is developing in order to find ways to deepen this learning. Assessment has a huge impact on student learning, achievement and motivation. Learners need to be clear about what they are aiming to learn as well as how to evaluate their learning for future learning to happen. Parents also need to be involved as being aware of the journey their child is taking helps to create a strong and positive home school partnership which in turn intrinsically motivates students to do better.

Innovation in education today strives to create “life long learners” equipped with skills and knowledge to lead their own journeys in the real world. However, innovations in pedagogy are unlikely to be successful if they are not accompanied by related innovation in assessment (Cizek,1997). These assessments are referred to as performance based assessments and can be oral presentations, essays, projects, experiments, collaborative tasks and portfolios/videos. In order for assessment to be meaningful, it needs to be ongoing and authentic. Teachers need to be able to identify what learners already know in order to respond to the learning needs of individual students. Feedback plays an important role in assessing learners and is directly connected to their academic success. To have the greatest impact, feedback needs to provide information not only on how the learner has done, but also the specific steps needed to progress further. It needs to be timely, detailed and specific (Hattie and Timperely, 2007).

In my early years classroom, the environment that I create is fluid and safe and I develop relationships with my learners based on trust, mutual respect and love. We understand that we are all diverse and we learn differently as we understand that making mistakes is the most powerful way of learning; based on Hattie and Timperely's (2007) research on feedback. This is the key for emotional and social success which then leads to academic success. I regularly check in with my students during a learning engagement and assess their learning with them as well as set goals. Reflection is a big part of our day and this is something we do at the end of every learning engagement so that students can share their new learning or their misconceptions.

It is our role to define what our students need to know and provide the environment they need to successfully learn and meet their learning targets in order for them to believe in their potential for success. We need to create meaningful assessment systems that provide valuable information to pinpoint gaps in learning and guide learners through next steps they need to take to eliminate the gaps. We need to involve our students in the assessment process and watch as they gain a sense of ownership and commitment to learning. Soon they become more focused, motivated and achievement oriented.


Black, P. & Wiliam, D., 2010. Inside the Black Box: Raising Standards through Classroom Assessment. Phi Delta Kappan, 92(1), pp.81–90.

Hattie, J. and Timperley, H., 2007. The power of feedback. Review of Educational Research, 77(1), pp.81?112.

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.

July 08, 2019

The Pivotal Role of Peer Assessment in PE… WWW and EBI?

Since learning about assessment for learning within my undergraduate degree and developing this knowledge further within my teacher training year, I have become a keen advocate for embedding, in particular, peer and self-assessment activities within my lessons. As supported by numerous research articles, feedback is critically important in helping pupils to make progress within PE, and peer assessment is key to allowing all pupils to receive immediate, individual feedback - an impossible task of the teacher! A number of sources suggest how peer assessment is not only a great way of engaging pupils within the lesson (rather than just allowing pupil to be stood ‘waiting for their turn’) but also in aiding their peers to progress and scaffold their own progression. As a result they are able to develop a better understanding of the standards they are aiming for within their own performance. With university, literature and my school all advocating the role of peer assessment within PE lessons, it seemed a relevant topic to inform my action research.

As there is already a vast selection of existing research around peer assessment and its benefits within PE, I decided to explore how peer assessment impacts the perceived competence of girls within their PE lessons. It is reported that girls are the more sedentary sex and it is has been found that girls are less likely to lead a lifelong participation in sport; linked to the negative perceptions girls have about their ability in sport and a fear of the negative evaluation they might receive from others. I therefore wanted to explore if the frequent use of a pedagogic tool, peer assessment, would change this. So how did this research impact my practice?

Firstly, the research that I carried out around peer assessment was supportive of the findings of other researchers; peer assessment can support the progress that the pupils make within PE. It also taught me about the importance of structuring peer assessment activities within a lesson. I am sure many teachers are familiar with the more common feedback practices of asking pupils to tell their peers what they did well and what they could to do to improve or to give three stars and a wish - myself included. But this alone without any scaffolding often leads to a lack of quality feedback and instead the pupils identifying and providing superficial feedback such as something “looking good” but not really influencing the way a pupil feels about their ability in an activity. Although, of course, some feedback is better than none at all! I therefore invested time into creating peer assessment resources with an explicit success criteria supported by pictures, alongside key words that the pupils should try to include within their feedback. These resources scaffolded the peer assessment activities really well and the quality of the feedback was much better as well as the pupils cognitive knowledge of teaching points and technical vocabulary increasing. One example of this was that a pupil, during a synchronised swimming lesson, provided feedback suggesting her peer’s body was streamlined and fully extended, as opposed to saying straight, flat or some other synonym. I also learnt that pupils need time to be able to analyse and identify the success criteria within their peer’s performance and pupils need to be clear on what each skill or success criteria should look like, through a modelled example, so that they can more effectively evaluate their peer’s achievements.

My research showed that the participants involved had mixed feelings about how the peer assessment activities impacted their perceived competence, with lots of them saying that this is affected mainly by their own perceptions of their ability and other people’s views. It was very interesting to capture the thoughts and opinions of the pupils about peer assessment activities. Although some of the participants felt that they liked being able to get instant feedback from a peer who was just focusing on them, lots of them doubted their peer’s ability to give accurate feedback and stated they themselves found it hard to give feedback even though the success criteria did make it easier.

The participants expressed lots of concern about offending their peers and admitted that when receiving critical feedback they ignored it due to not valuing or believing what was being said. This suggested to me the importance of my role as a teacher in teaching pupils to peer assess effectively before implementing peer assessment activities, the groupings of pupils for peer assessment and the important role that ICT and videoing performances could have in allowing pupils to show and justify they feedback that they give. Based on my research, it appears the most significant factor could be the facilitation of the peer assessment. It has become evident that I need to support the feedback the pupils make (as long as it is accurate) in order to help develop relationships of trust between the pupils, encourage reflective and justified feedback and dialogue between peers and guide them to see the fully understand the benefits of peer assessment to enhance their learning.

November 21, 2018

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

Defined by Wiliam and Black as “activities undertaken by teachers…which provides information to be used as feedback to modify teaching and learning” (Black & Wiliam 2010, p. 82), assessment is considered to be vital for pupil progress (TS6 and TS2). However, it can also provide opportunities for teachers to encourage and motivate learners to succeed, both academically and socially.

Formative assessment can also provide opportunity for teachers to encourage and motivate learners. For example, once a topic has been introduced, a teacher can engage students in an open discussion to determine how pupils can progress in their learning (TS6 and TS2). As strategies such as this also promote the development of higher-order thinking skills, which are typically required for high GCSE grades, pupils are encouraged to succeed academically. Furthermore, and through the use of character sheets, students can be prompted to think empathetically about both sides of the debate. As this helps students to cultivate a flexible mind-set and become more understanding of other people’s views, pupils are also being helped to succeed socially.

Conducting frequent summative assessments, and using them to motivate learners to succeed, can lead to students becoming demotivated and disengaged (Harlen 2007; Hendrick et al. 2017). However, if end-of-topic tests are required, demotivation can be avoided by allowing the students to conduct the test as both open and closed-book. Within the first half of the lesson, pupils attempt the test under exam conditions; this helps the teacher to identify what pupils know and understand, and to determine where progress can be made (TS6). For the remainder of the lesson, pupils are then allowed to use a different colour pen and amend their test using information from textbooks and other resources.

There are many benefits to using assessments in this manner. Firstly, by allowing pupils the opportunity to alter their work, the tests are not considered to be ‘high-stakes’ (Trotter 2006). As such, students do not lose motivation with studying the subject and are encouraged to succeed academically (ibid.). Secondly, as pupils are given marks for both the open and closed-test, they are able to clearly see the grade that they could achieve with further revision (TS2); this can help motivate students to take responsibility for their learning, and thus help them to improve. Finally, by identifying gaps in their knowledge, pupils are able to focus their revision on the weakest aspects of that subject. As this can encourage students to develop skills such as: time-management; prioritising work-load; and self-evaluation, summative assessment can be used to promote social success.

Allowing time for pupils to reflect and respond to feedback from assessments is similarly important for pupils’ academic and social success (TS6). As a trainee teacher, the incorporation of this aspect into my practice needs to be improved. However, when I have prompted my pupils to respond to feedback, they have engaged with the process and have reflected upon how to improve their learning. As Roorda et al. (2011) highlight, this engagement stems from forming positive relationships with the students that are rooted in mutual respect (TS1). If the students trust that it is within their best interest to action the feedback that has been provided, they will be more likely to engage in activities that will help them to succeed.


Black, P. & Wiliam, D., 2010. Inside the Black Box: Raising Standards through Classroom Assessment. Phi Delta Kappan, 92(1), pp.81–90. Available at:

Harlen, W., 2007. Assessment of Learning, SAGE Publications. Available at:

Hendrick, C., Macpherson, R. & Caviglioli, O., 2017. What Does this Look Like in the Classroom?: Bridging the Gap Between Research and Practice, John Catt Educational Limited. Available at:

Roorda, D.L. et al., 2011. The Influence of Affective Teacher–Student Relationships on Students’ School Engagement and Achievement: A Meta-Analytic Approach. Review of Educational Research, 81(4), pp.493–529. Available at:

Trotter, E., 2006. Student perceptions of continuous summative assessment. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 31(5), pp.505–521. Available at:

November 05, 2018

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

Summative and formative assessments can both enable students to succeed, academically and socially. Summative assessments are “cumulative assessments…that intend to capture what a student has learned, or the quality of learning, and judge performance against some standards” National Research Council, 2001). This method of assessment is often used to evaluate student knowledge and understanding at the end of a topic (Gardner, 2010), and is often graded. Consequently, summative assessments may encourage and reassure students who have performed well, or motivate those who have under-achieved to try harder. In my practice, I summatively assess end-of-topic tests, and keep an accurate, up-to-date mark book with comparisons to target grades. This enables student performance to be monitored, which may lead to conversations with students or parents, or interventions, if students are underachieving.

Formative assessment refers to “frequent, interactive assessments of student progress and understanding to identify learning needs and adjust teaching appropriately” (OECD, 2005, p.21). Since formative assessments can inform teachers of student comprehension, this can, in turn, inform planning. For example, recently, after beginning teaching the topic of electrolysis to a year 10 class, through whole-class questioning, I realised that they knew very little about ionic bonding. Therefore, I planned and devoted a full lesson to teaching these principles, before continuing with electrolysis.

Importantly, formative assessments enable students to consider feedback, and improve upon their work and understanding, rather than purely focussing on their grade (Education Endowment Foundation, 2016, p.5). Consequently, I rarely write students’ grades or scores on their classwork or homework, but instead offer positive comments, effort grades and several action points. Students then complete these actions during lessons in a different-coloured pen, for easy comparison to the original work. In my opinion, this method is extremely effective; students have to correct mistakes (scientific or literacy), give more detailed, well-written answers, or complete challenge questions, which encourage higher-order thinking. This also allows for students to reflect on the progress they have made, which may motivate students to continue to learn through making improvements.

In terms of the type of written feedback, rather than offering vague remarks such as “great job” or “nearly there”, I try to give more constructive, specific comments. This type of feedback has been shown to focus students’ attention on certain aspects that require improvement (Hattie and Timperley, 2007). For verbal feedback, I try to give lots of praise (including merits) when students answer questions, even if their answers are wrong. As Mueller and Dweck (1998) argue, it is more important to reward effort than intelligence, and socially, I believe that this makes students feel safe and builds their confidence, meaning that they are more likely to volunteer answers in the future. To further help students succeed socially, I set peer assessment tasks, in which students are encouraged to give each other positive comments, in addition to suggestions for improvement.

Furthermore, I assess students’ learning through a range of a plenary activities. I have found that competition encourages learners to succeed, for both academic and social reasons, and thus, I try to implement a variety of games into my lessons, such as bingo, splat, noughts-and-crosses and team quizzes.


Education Endowment Foundation, 2016. A marked improvement? A review on the evidence of written marking. London: Education Endowment Foundation.

Gardner, J., 2010. Developing teacher assessments: An introduction. In: J. Gardner, W. Harlen, L. Hayward, G. Stobart and M. Montgomery, eds. 2010. Developing teacher assessment. New York: Open University Press. pp.1−11.

Hattie, J. and Timperley, H., 2007. The power of feedback. Review of Educational Research, 77(1), pp.81−112.

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), pp. 33−52.

National Research Council, 2001. Assessment in the classroom. [online] National Academies Press. Available at: https: [Accessed 8 February 2018].

Office of Economic Co-operation and Development, 2005. Formative assessment: Improving learning in secondary classrooms. Paris: OECD Publishing.

September 10, 2018

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

Assessment, whether it is formative or summative, can be used to encourage and motivate learners to succeed, both academically and socially, in a number of different ways. Reflecting on my own teaching practice in my Initial Teacher Training year, I have met Teacher Standard 6 and its sub-standards by not only making “accurate and productive use of assessment” (Department for Education, 2011, p.12) on a regular basis, but by using assessment to encourage my pupils to stretch and challenge themselves both academically inside the classroom (Evidence 1) and socially outside of the classroom (Evidence 2).

Using assessment to encourage and motivate learners to succeed socially (Evidence 1) has also helped me meet Teacher Standard 2 and its sub-standards by helping me promote “good progress and outcomes by pupils” (Department for Education, 2013, p.10) not just academically in the classroom but socially outside the classroom too. For example, I co-led a GCSE PE kayaking expedition to Wales in half-term (Evidence 2).

In my Initial Teacher Training Year I have learned to use assessment to encourage and motivate learners to succeed by identifying and rewarding success – no matter how small – and using this as a basis for pupil self-improvement (Evidence 1 and Evidence 2). Chappuis and Stiggins write: “Teachers who assess for learning use day-to-day classroom assessment activities to involve students directly and deeply in their own learning, increasing their confidence and motivation to learn by emphasizing progress and achievement rather than failure and defeat” (Chappuis and Stiggins, 2002, p.40).

In terms of using assessment to encourage and motivate learners to succeed academically, I frequently use both formative and summative assessment at the beginning and at the end of my lessons respectively to test the extent to which pupils have retained and recalled prior learning. I use formative assessment at the very start of my lessons to encourage pupils to remember one or more key facts they’ve learned from a previous lesson (not necessarily the preceding one). I link my questioning to the classes scheme of learning. For example, with my three Year 8 classes I often ask pupils when I greet them at the door what one of the key causes or consequences of the First World War was. If the pupil cannot immediately recall the information, then they have to go to the back of the queue. In this respect I use assessment to encourage learners to succeed by introducing an element of competition to the start of the lesson. Most pupils want to get the answer right the first time and enter the classroom before their friends.

In my Initial Teacher Training year I have made a conscious effort to attended numerous CPD sessions on Assessment for and of Learning in order to find new and innovative ways to use assessment as a tool to encourage and motivate learners to succeed academically and socially (Evidence 3). Eadie writes that: “There is clear evidence that assessment can motivate learning in the intrinsic sense of stimulating intellectual curiosity…Assessment which motivates students is likely to be achieved by tasks which are… probably more achievable when the method of assessment is innovative.” (Eadie, 2004, p70).

Academic references

Chappuis, S. and Stiggins, R. (2002). ‘Do Students Care About Learning?’ in Educational Leadership, Vol. 60, pp. 40-43.

Department for Education (2011). Teachers’ Standards Guidance for school leaders, school staff and governing bodies, Crown Copyright.

Eadie, A. (2004). Using Assessment to Motivate Learning - An Overview, Glasgow Caledonian University.

June 11, 2018

How can assessment encourage & motivate learners to succeed academically & socially? – William

Assessment can motivate pupils to succeed academically by providing bespoke feedback that praises areas of strength and highlights methods and skill sets that pupils need to improve upon in subsequent tasks. Improvement of areas of weakness can be most efficiently achieved by informing a pupil of how to nurture areas of weakness, so that advancement in academic skill may be observed within the next assessment (Black and Wiliam, 1998).

Assessment in relation to social success is a less obvious connection. Advancement of the social agility of pupils could provide the highest chance of success in a pupil’s life as positive working relationships are key to any team-based professional team. Advancing social success may be best achieved by considering this important ‘soft’ skill development from the pupil’s point-of-view (Jarvinen and Nicholls, 1996).

Relationships which contain intimacy, nurturance, sincerity, responsibility, feigning concern and entertainment were observed by adolescent pupils to encompass social success (Jarvinen and Nicholls, 1996). Social success in secondary school is considered by adolescent pupils to culminate in obtaining satisfaction from relations with peers. What a pupil is required to receive in order to feel socially satisfied could vary considerably from individual to individual. Roles that pupils perceive as bringing about satisfaction within a social setting are leadership, popularity, dominance and even being considered to have a tough and almost unfriendly character (Jarvinen and Nicholls, 1996). Some of these perceived requirements for social success, such as the projection of a tough and unfriendly approach, run counter to aspects actively promoted in school policies which stipulate a foundation of basic respect for others. Social skills have been observed to influence academic outcomes of pupils to such a degree that assessment of social agility can be employed as a viable avenue through which to predict and possibly use to advance academic achievement for pupils (Agostin and Bain, 1997).

Assessment which focuses on providing commentary aimed at advancement of pupils’ academic skills is seen as a way to expedite pupil progress a lot more than just the competition which ensues between pupils in achieving the highest grades (Black and Wiliam, 1998). This approach is of mainstream focus now in schools for both formative and summative assessments led by teachers and on a whole-school level. Self-esteem and perceived levels of social support have all been observed to promote a more confident handling of academic work-loads and challenges (Friedlander et al., 2007). Assessment can influence both social and academic success by attending to the self-esteem of pupils and through accentuating the positive achievements of a pupil’s efforts, regardless of ability level. This positive feedback should be interwoven into any critical and constructive appraisal of pupil’s academic weaknesses. This then could promote a stable and positive working relationship between the pupil and the teacher, which assists a rapport that encourages the pupil to listen and engage with lesson activities and instruction provided by the teacher.


AGOSTIN, T. M. & BAIN, S. K. 1997. Predicting Early School Sucess with Developmental and Social Skills Screeners. Psychology in the Schools, 34, 219-228.

BLACK, P. & WILIAM, D. 1998. Inside the Black Box: Raising Standards Through Classroom Assessment, London, GL Assessment.

FRIEDLANDER, L. J., REID, G. J., SHUPAK, N. & CRIBBIE, R. 2007. Social Support, Self-Esteem, and Stress as Predictors of Adjustment to University Among First-Year Undergraduates. Journal of College Student Development, 48, 259-274.

JARVINEN, D. W. & NICHOLLS, J. G. 1996. Adolescents' Social Goals, Beliefs About the Causes of Social Success, and Satisfaction in Peer Relations. Developmental Psychology, 32, 435-441.

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  • Thank you for setting up this Learning Circle. Clearly, this is an area where we can make real progr… by Gwen Van der Velden on this entry
  • It's wonderful to read of your success Alex and the fact that you've been able to eradicate some pre… by Catherine Glavina on this entry
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  • Amazing article, raises many questions about the future of intelligence testing and its value. by Saachi on this entry
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