Assessment for Learning emphasises formative assessment, because it offers opportunities for students to practice and experiment and take risks, and consequently come to understand the standards required for judging summative assessments. It allows students to use feedback to improve in a low-stakes task which they can meaningfully apply to a higher-stakes summative task. This is key to inclusive practices as well as critical thinking skills and induction into disciplinary communities. These activities do not have to be referred to in the module approval process because they are, in essence, things which occur in the classroom or build towards significant learning rather than ‘counting’ towards a degree award. In fact, it might be better to think of formative assessment as ‘research into learning’, and encourage students to do the same!
This section provides a variety of formative assessment practices which emphasise confidence building, practice and risk-taking.