By formative assessment, and concurring with Black and Wiliam, I mean any type of educational assessment which is designed to promote pupils’ learning. This is defined as assessment for learning in the following terms:
“Assessment for learning is any assessment for which the first priority in its design and practice is to serve the purpose of promoting pupils’ learning. It thus differs from assessment designed primarily to serve the purposes of accountability, or of ranking, or of certifying competence” (Black et. al., 2002, inside front cover).
It is also my belief, backed up by my extensive teaching experience of over 20 years, that pupils who are successful in their learning are skilled at using their metacognitive skills to advance their learning, in other words, they know how to learn. Stobart (2008) makes a link between the ability to self/peer-assess the work and becoming an effective life-long learner:
“…in order to evaluate their own work, learners will need to be aware of both what a successful performance would look like (‘where they need to get’), and where they are in their own learning. These skills provide the basis of self- regulation (‘metacognition’), which is seen as a powerful source of learning” (p.149).