Assessment for Learning (AfL) to expand post-pandemic

14th March 2022

The pandemic has changed the approach to formative assessments, or assessments for learning, forever.

We all learn in different ways. There are many factors that will determine the speed at which a person absorbs, filters, and understands information presented to them. Understanding individual learner preferences and being able to tailor learning to an individual has a multitude of challenges. One of the most exciting things about the “digital future” is how we can use technology to overcome some of those challenges and offer a blended approach to match different learner needs.

The pandemic has brought about an acceleration in the use of technology for learners as we have needed to adhere to social distancing measures. There is a realisation of the need for resilience in the education system to be able to adapt. There is also a need to catch up on missed learning during the period. The blended learning approach has been tested further and we will be able to measure the effects this has had on learners going forward.

During the pandemic, education experts have been looking at the ways in which we can use more Assessment for Learning (AfL) or formative assessment to:

  • Support the pace of learning
  • Reduce the cost of learning 
  • Reduce dependence on the final assessment 
  • Focus learner material to the learner more effectively

Using more bite size chunks to measure learner progression is gaining traction, based not only on the advice of experts, but also on the experiences of the last 2 years.

AfL achieves these objectives by using online technology to:

  1. Carry out a formative assessment to identify what a learner understands and what they don’t. 
  2. Focus the blended learning on the latter so as not to dis-engage the learner with repetition of existing knowledge. 
  3. Re-assess to ensure the focused learning is successful.

The big advantage post-pandemic is the speed of learning. Questions and tests can be linked to one or more learning outcomes or assessment criteria to ensure focused in-depth feedback, allowing an accelerated learning process.

Creating more content to support a shift to formative assessment is not simple. It requires time, money, and expertise. If implemented badly, the benefits of good formative assessments can be lost.

As a technology company involved in the delivery of assessments, we are keen to support this shifting landscape and be at the forefront of making things possible. We provide the technology that enables awarding organisations and learners to have meaningful learning experiences via the use of formative assessments.

Civica uses several innovative technologies in the products and services we provide to our customers, including the use of AI, improving outcomes and saving time and money. We also use an innovation lab to facilitate discussions with customers to find technological solutions to problems.

Working together, we are confident that we can facilitate formative assessment content and leverage technology to help assessment organisations to improve outcomes for candidates.