Formative Assessment and Personalised Learning - Primary

Programme Review

This is a Teachers TV video, of 27 minutes duration developed by Bristol University's Effective Lifelong Learning Inventory project (ELLI) in collaboration with Westbury Park Primary School. The school promotes an original and unique approach to personalised learning and formative assessment by using seven dimensions for effective teaching and learning: learning relationships, changing and learning, creativity, resilience, curiosity, meaning making and strategic awareness.



The video follows a Year One class during the course of three literacy lessons in Pirate week and a Year Five class as they create their own song to develop their use of language.  The head teacher, Alan Rees, promotes the use and development of the personalised learning model throughout years one to six.

The video seeks to highlight the advantages of using personalised learning and formative assessment to embed learning and to involve children in self and peer-assessment thereby giving them ownership of their learning.

The school reviewed their assessment policy and recognised that whilst they were strong on summative assessment their strategy lacked the involvement of children in assessment in a more pragmatic way, for example making children aware of the methods and strategies they use for learning. 

The video is structured into two interchanging sections:
  • Year One pupils are taught literacy following a `Pirate' theme. Animal metaphors are used to represent each one of the seven dimensions. Questions are asked and pupils select an animal (a dimension) and explain how they will use the dimension to help them with their literacy, for example when developing a story plan they would use `creativity' and `strategic awareness'. Learning dimensions become embedded in children's learning.
  • Year Five pupils are provided with a lively tune and are asked to write lyrics for the tune. Through doing this they develop their literacy and use of language, using the seven dimensions, for example `learning relationships' and `meaning making'.

The video, alongside clips of the class room activities, is used as a medium to illustrate how informed research has aided the development of the personalised learning model and also the long term benefits of providing pupils with the tools to enhance their capacity for learning.

This video uses literacy as a platform to champion the University's ELLI model of personalised learning and formative assessment through the use of the seven dimensions. This model could be applied, using different variations, to all subjects at all levels.

The aims of the resource:
The aim of the Bristol University, ELLI, project in collaboration with Westbury Park Primary School, is to empower children to be responsible and autonomous learners through the use of a personalised learning and formative assessment model. 

The video aims to illustrate how the use of the model can provide children with the use of language to enable them to recognise learning, e.g. have tools with which to think.


Key findings or focus:
The focus of the video is firmly placed within personalised learning and formative assessment. 

Use of this model stimulated children's motivation by making them partners in learning by identifying the learning strategies required by them and a key suggestion from the video is that children's learning benefits from self and peer learning and assessment.

Evidence within the video suggests that children's lifelong learning progression is enhanced by recognising, understanding, developing and using the seven dimension model.

The quality, authority and credibility of the resource:
The quality in terms of presentation and accessibility is very good. The interaction between Year One and Year Five aids interest and concentration.

The credibility of the video is that it has been developed in conjunction with a recognised research body (Bristol University) who have overseen the project.

The video is lively, original and inspiring. It lends itself to debate particularly because of the extended use and application of the personalised learning and formative assessment model. 

Although the video could be used for generating subject specific ideas and material it is equally of interest to teacher trainers and trainees to inform and to explore the concepts raised within the video.

The implications for ITE tutors/mentors:
This video would be of use within ITE.  The model could be used in conjunction with curriculum design and the development of teaching and learning strategies. 

The video would also be useful during discussion of assessment for learning. It illustrates how through personalised learning and formative assessment pupils can develop strategies to improve their own learning.
This is also an interesting resource for debate to encourage the use and development of analytical skills, consideration of notions of differing approaches to teaching and learning. 

The relevance to ITE students:
The video maintains the audience's interest and provides a platform of ideas in which other possible variations of the same model of personalised learning could be built.

Whilst aimed at Primary Education this is a very useful resource for all trainees regardless of the age group they intend to teach. It inspires and demonstrates a motivating model of teaching and learning.

Reviewed by:
Lynn Machin  

Related Resources:
The following might be useful to read in conjunction with this resource:

Black, P. Harrison, C. Lee, C. Marshall, B. Wiliam, D. (2003) Assessment for Learning, Buckingham, Open University Press