Book Chapter

Assessment for learning: a compelling conceptualization



Gardner J (2012) Assessment for learning: a compelling conceptualization. In: Gardner J (ed.) Assessment and Learning. 2nd ed. London: SAGE, pp. 279-286.

First paragraph: At a seminar in 1998, hosted by the Nuffield Foundation at their London headquarters, the Assessment Reform Group launched the Black and Wiliam review pamphlet Inside the Black Box (Black and Wiliam, 1996b). The review itself, and the pamphlet, immediately attracted critical acclaim and has continued to enjoy significant impact on assessment thinking throughout the UK and further afield to the present day. However, one moment in the event sticks out clearly in my memory. After the main presentation, a senior educational policy maker stood up and declared that he had heard it all before; we had nothing new to offer. Indicating, with a glance at his watch, that he had commitments elsewhere he promptly left the seminar before the discussion proper got underway. My immediate urge was to rush after him and say ‘Yes, you are absolutely right! But it seems to us that, powerful as it might be, formative assessment is actually off the schools’ and policy-makers’ radar! Surely we need to do something quite urgently if we are to reap the benefits we know are there?’ I resisted the urge and instead a year later, at the same venue and with the same sponsors, we injected the urgency we all felt was needed. We launched the pamphlet Assessment for Learning: Beyond the Black Box (ARG, 1999). This pamphlet deliberately and directly challenged official complacency and inertia.

Publication date31/12/2012
Publisher URL
Place of publicationLondon

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Professor John Gardner

Professor John Gardner

Professor, Education