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Personalised Learning
About Personalised Learning
The five components
  • Assessment for Learning
  • Effective teaching and learning
  • Curriculum entitlement and choice
  • Organising the school
  • Beyond the classroom
    Background and research
    Case studies

    Assessment for Learning (AfL)

    Assessment for Learning (AfL) means using evidence and feedback to identify where pupils are in their learning, what they need to do next and how best to get achieve this. In practice, this means obtaining clear evidence about how to drive up individual attainment; understanding between teachers and pupils on what they need to improve, and agreement on the steps needed to promote sound learning and progress.

    The National Strategies are supporting teachers in developing their AfL practice in the classroom at the point of teaching and learning. In particular, the Strategies are strengthening schools' tracking of pupil progress to ensure effective use by teachers of Assessment for Learning and strategies for intervention to improve and personalise teaching and learning. This is focussed on tackling barriers to learning and closing the attainment gaps for underperforming groups of pupils.

    The DCSF is making substantial financial support available for AfL and has announced a total of £150 million over the 2008-11 Comprehensive Spending Review period (£50 million per year) in order that schools can use formative assessment to drive pupil progress.

    The Assessing Pupils Progress (APP) materials have been produced to strengthen schools' approaches to AfL and are designed to secure teachers' summative assessment judgements of pupil progress in Key Stage 3. APP materials for reading and writing were distributed to all secondary schools in 2006 and those for maths in the early part of 2007. APP materials for speaking and listening and for science will be distributed during 2007-08. Following succesful piloting of comparable materials in primary schools, it is intended to roll these out nationally in 2008.

    We are committed to improving schools' use of pupil assessment data to inform more personalised learning, and these approaches will be tested as part of the 'Making Good Progress' pilots launched in early 2007.

    More detailed information can be found at the Primary Strategy and Secondary Strategy websites ( or respectively).

    Full packs of the resources below can be ordered from the DCSF Publications Centre.

    Tel: 0845 60 222 60
    Fax: 0845 60 333 60
    Please quote respective references for each resource.

    The Primary National Strategy

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    The Secondary Strategy for School Improvement

    • A management guide and generic training materials on assessment for learning have been produced for Key Stage 3 and sent to all schools: Assessment for learning: Whole-school training materials (resource reference: DfES 0043 2004 G). (Assessment for learning - Whole-school training materials).
    • Subject Development Materials linked to the generic training folder have been completed for 12 subjects (English, Mathematics, Science, ICT, Geography, History, Design and Technology, Modern Foreign Languages, Art and Design, Music, Physical Education and Religious Education) (Assessment for learning - Whole-school training materials). They are available on CD-ROM (resource reference: DfES 0737/2004 G CD).
    • Pedagogy and Practice: Teaching and learning in secondary schools (resource reference: DfES 0423 2004 G) is a teaching and learning pack of twenty self-study modules, including one on assessment for learning. The pack is available for all secondary and middle deemed secondary schools. (Pedagogy in Practice: Teaching and learning in secondary schools).
    • Workforce remodelling training for higher level teaching assistants will contain information on assessment for learning.

    Assessment for Learning (AfL) 8 Schools Project

    The Assessment for Learning (AfL) Eight Schools Project was an action research project (July 2005 - October 2006) which sought to identify what helps pupils develop as motivated and effective learners (through professional dialogue and collaborative working with teachers, school leaders and LAs). It also sought to identify how AfL can be successfully developed whole school.

    The project has yielded evidence that AfL improves pupil progress over the short and medium term and impacts on standards in the longer term. The project findings indicate that fundamental to developing AfL in the classroom is developing the independent learner, and fundamental to developing the leadership and management of whole school change is developing distributed leadership. The intended audience is teachers, leaders in schools, those who advise and support schools and national policy makers.

    Schools were selected from across eight local authorities in eight regions. The eight schools were from a range of contexts: high and low-attaining; low, average and high contextual value added (CVA) scores; improving, declining, steady and varying standards; urban, suburban and rural; one in special measures and another recently emerged from special measures. The report is available to download (PDF 1 MB)


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    Image showing a young girl saying - I go to Breakfast Club at school when Dad goes to work and sometimes he comes and learns French with me after school.