If what we teach is not necessarily what the learner learns then assessment, specifically formative assessment, is the bridge between teaching and learning.
Crucial to fixing backlogs is knowing what these backlogs are! Every learner’s backlogs are uniquely different and so we need a specific assessment process to provide the evidence needed to identify and measure backlogs and to direct the catch-up process.
We know what we must teach and we know what our learners must learn but there is a difference between what they must learn and what they can learn – we must first bridge that gap in our teaching. To do this we need to know: what they already know about the topic and what they don’t know that I, as the teacher, need them to know in order to understand the topic.
Assessment design that can reveal gaps in understanding at a concept level from many years back has been called transformative assessment – using formative assessment in a life-changing way. What are the characteristics of transformative assessment? How can you use it in your classroom?
The learners in the Uplands Outreach Learners for Excellence programme were in all Grade 10.
But they showed that it was never too late to catch-up.