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The ‘unpacking’ of the Learning Objective needs to be done by applying a cognitive ‘filter’ to the Learning Objective so that its ‘Knowledge’, ‘Understanding’ and ‘Evaluation’ elements are discerned.   If the topic is understood well by the teacher/subject leader, this analysis will be quick and easy – the progression from easy to difficult, from knowledge to evaluation, from level 3/E to 8/A* is coordinated and parallel.   The lesson almost constructs itself – the decisions to be made will be one of resources/access.

This becomes directed learning: in unpacking a topic according to a cognitive hierarchy and providing a roadmap that shows the route of this unpacking, the way for the pupil is clear – to integrate back through the hierarchy with h/er study.   If the presentation of all topics is done according to the same cognitive development hierarchy, what needs to be done for the pupil will always be clear (indeed for higher ability pupils they should become self-directed in their learning, they will be able to work the template themselves).

Assessment for Learning simply becomes the completion of the experience for the pupil – the measure of how far s/he managed to take it.   Self-assessment, peer- assessment and group-assessment are formative assessments, done when there is a pause after the initial impetus of effort has happened (the first ‘go’/’shot’), a check to orient how far the pupil has got and where s/he needs to go.   The teacher-assessment is summative, corroborating what all have commonly understood about development if they have been using the same cognitive hierarchy.

Assessment for Learning means the integration of the lesson/study/assessment through this common cognitive hierarchy – it is the means through which the topic, the lesson and the pupil’s work can communicate; it is the dialectic between the curriculum and the pupil.

The teacher is axiomatic to this dialectic, not just in constructing the lesson and learning (structure), not just in measuring the learning (assessment), but – vitally – in having the instinctive, adaptive, visceral, intuitive human skill to connect it all together (dynamic).   You might have a Medium Term Plan, Lesson Plans and a method of assessment and these might all be present in the classroom as paper, and they might be ostensibly happening in the classroom, but without the Alchemist turning all of this (iron) into gold, you would have an immovable, unchangeable process-led lesson in which minds were not learning.

In recent years teachers have been disempowered from their own art of teaching.   Assessment for Learning should re-instate the integral-ness (the integrity) of the teacher back into the heart of learning, the catalyst/dynamic/alchemy outside the structure that enables the process to actually happen.   Structure just ‘sits there’ without the dynamic to make it work. Targets will just ‘sit there’ without the dynamic to realise them, ’doesn’t matter how much you ‘work’ the structure, ’doesn’t matter how much you treat the teacher as part of the structure.


evaluation & teaching craft & understanding wormhole: constructalesson
knowledge wormhole: Dr Strange V – all the words of all the times of all the worlds speak