‘Assessment for learning’ refers to all the activities undertaken by teachers and their students to know where they are in their learning and what to do next to make good progress. This includes adjusting teaching and learning activities to keep pupils engaged and motivated.

Why use it?

    • AfL helps Madrassah pupils focus on their learning


    • AfL helps the Madrassah teacher to understand pupil’s progress in learning


    • AfL encourages those Madrassah pupils who are less confident to contribute to the class


  • Studies have shown that ongoing AfL improves pupil motivation and learning

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  • Ensure you give clear learning objectives to your Madrassah pupils at the start of each lesson
  • Share and negotiate success criteria with your pupils eg the Madrassah teacher could say “to get good marks in this piece of work you need to explain the meaning of fatihah as well as recite it.” Or the you could ask pupils what they think needs to be included
  • Use effective questioning techniques eg open ended questions
  • Create opportunities for your Madrassah pupils to give and receive feedback and for peer and self-assessment


Assessments are an essential part of effective teaching. In Madrassah teaching assessments are used to determine the amount of learning that has taken place in the classroom.

There are two main types of assessment used in UK education;


Formative Assessment (AfL)


Summative Assessment


The teacher provides regular feedback to the student by assessing the student, often informally, in order to adapt the learning process and put student learning back on track.


Key questions:


How much of his dua has he learnt?

How much of the story of the elephant has she understood?

How is he progressing in learning to read three letter words in Arabic?

The teacher evaluates student learning after the conclusion of an instructional period. An end of term test is an example of this type of assessment.


Key questions:


Has she learnt all of her duas?

Has he understood the story of the elephant?

Is she able to read three letter words in Arabic?

It is forward looking. It is used as an aid to inform future learning. It is backward looking. It comes at the end of the learning process to indicate achievement.
Used primarily to diagnose needs and to provide feedback to help students learn and improve the learning process. Is used to inform parents and teachers about student achievement.
An informal discussion about how far the student has progressed is an example of a formative assessment. An end of chapter test is an example of a summative assessment.


Formative Assessment is sometimes called ‘Assessment for Learning’ or AfL.

It enables teachers to gather information about student learning and to use that information to improve the way they learn.

Using Assessment for Learning to Raise Student Achievement

  1. When assessment for learning is implemented effectively, it raises standards of achievement, particularly for low achievers.
  2. When students are given better quality support and feedback, and are encouraged and empowered to take more responsibility, they learn more effectively.
  3. Barriers that stop Assessment for Learning from working well include learning with the objective to perform well in tests and the negative impact on students when comparing grades and marks to other students’ marks.

Some key strategies for Assessment for Learning are:

  • Finding out how students are progressing in their learning through discussion and questioning.
  • Teachers agreeing clear objectives with pupils and providing feedback that helps them to achieve these goals.
  • Enabling students to take greater responsibility of their learning.
  • Making peer and self-assessment key components of learning.

Pupils supported to think for themselves, become more resourceful, reflective and effective learners. They know what works for them and what does not. Resourceful, reflective students are more successful at learning in later life.

Success itself does not motivate. It depends more on why students think they have been successful in their learning.

Assessment for learning places emphasis on helping pupils to achieve success through taking responsibility for their learning and using techniques that work well for them. Being wrong, making mistakes and struggling to understand or to do something is a necessary and important part of any learning process.

Peer and Self-Assessment

Students as young as 5 can assess themselves with great skill if they are taught how to do so, particularly if they regard it as part of their learning. With practice, pupils quickly learn to be honest and effective in assessing both themselves and others.

The process of assessing another’s work enables the student assessor to internalise the success criteria, resulting in a deeper level of understanding that can be transferred into his or her own work.

There are a number of reasons why self and peer assessment is important:

  1. Peer and self-assessment promotes a more mature awareness of how they learn and this promotes better learning. This is called metacognition.
  2. To learn effectively, students require good quality, continuous feedback, tailored to their individual needs.
  3. Pupils often listen more attentively to the observations of learning partners.

In order for peer and self-assessment to be effective it is important that students have:

  • Clear information about what they need to learn and how they will know they have been successful.
  • A clear understanding of what constitutes progress.
  • The skills and vocabulary required to assess what they have achieved.