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Assessment For Learning (AFL)

The initiative in Assessment for Learning (AfL) arose out of the consultations around the junior cycle review.
While expertise in preparing students for state examinations is a recognised strength of our education system, one of the challenges is to apply this expertise, together with new understandings of how students learn, to every day assessment practice in classrooms and in schools.

AfL emphasises the young person’s active role in his/her learning. It is about using assessment as a tool to improve and support students’ learning. AfL happens before, during and after lessons rather than at the end of a unit of teaching. It allows for effective differentiation and gives students ownership of their learning. It encourages students to think about their learning rather than expecting the teacher to be in control.

Both assessment of learning and assessment for learning have a place in education and in
classroom and school practice. They are not opposing or contradictory practices.
Compare the main features of AfL and Assessment of Learning
Assessment of Learning Assessment for Learning
happens after the learning takes place an integral part of the learning process
information is gathered by the teacher information is shared with the learner
information is usually transformed into marks or grades information is available on the quality of learning
comparison with the performance of others comparison with aims and objectives is important
looks back on past learning looks forward to the next stage of learning