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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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