Formative assessment in the learning and teaching of design and technology

Prof Paul Black
2008, Vol. 13, No. 3,


The first parts of this paper summarise recent work on the
development of formative assessment methods, set out a
precise definition of formative assessment, and discuss
briefly the aims of Design and Technology which such
methods should help to achieve. The following sections
discuss in turn feedback in questioning and classroom
dialogue, feedback given in writing, peer- and selfassessment
and its link to development of peer-group
work amongst students, and the formative use of
assessment designed primarily to serve summative
purposes. These sections include examples of classroom
work in design and technology, drawn mainly from other
authors. In a closing section I argue that any successful
development of formative assessment will depend on
implementation of two key strategies. One must aim for
careful selection and presentation of tasks which both
reflect the key aims of the subject and provide
opportunities to engage students in formative dialogue.
The other is to create opportunities, including allotted
time, for collegial sharing between the various teachers of
these students in order to secure both consistency for
those students and mutual support between teachers in
developments which have been found to be both
challenging yet rewarding.

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