Wiliam’s Formative assessment approach and my implementation of it

Dylan Wiliam is Deputy Director and Professor of Educational Assessment at the Institute of Education, University of London.  Formerly of King’s College London, Dylan was a co-author of Inside the Black Box – a seminal publication on the role of assessment as a formative element in learning.

Quoted from:


In his book entitled Embedded Formative Assessment, 1, Jan, 2011, he summarised five key pointers for every educator’s assessment practise. Below is a reflection of what I already do and what it is I will target to further prove the impact of Digital Enrichment on learning, the progress the children achieve with their learning digitally enriched and also further include parents so that they can join in the celebration process, rewarding and praising their child with us on a job well done!

Share learning intentions with students (AND parents)

This year, we are piloting our Digital Badges for eLearning. Each badge has its criteria that the children need to meet in order to receive the Digital Badge that parents can store in their backpack for future reference. The criteria that needs to be met for the badge is emailed out to parents. Each child is assigned to complete a badge based on their ability. The badge they are assigned may not be the one that they receive. They can move through badges so hopefully they may receive a higher badge than that assigned. This way they can see what it is that their child is working towards, share it with them at home, as we do in school, and support their child in working towards them. If completed, a Digital, graded badge is sent out at the end of term, when the assigment is completed. Along with the criteria, at the bottom of the shared and linked Google Doc, are some Big Challenges,where children can have a go at some additional, related targets at home such as “How many words can you type in 5 minutes? What is your record score?” In our year 2 eEditing Badge. For more insight of our Digital Badge assessment, click here.

Know where your students are beforehand

I found this area of most thought provoking. A key thought/ target that came to mind was to create online learning quizzes using Socrative. At the start of each unit, children complete a quiz designed by the teacher. Questions elicit knowledge related to the skill/ criteria that children work towards as part of their badge. Multiple choice answers would include “I would have to guess.” I feel by including this, it makes it less competitive and focus more on what they are going to find out and improve on at the end when they take the same quiz again rather than what it is that they don’t know in that moment. Socrative generates reports and scores that are exportable and sharable to Google Drive. This allows parents to know how children have progressed, give teacher valuable, concrete data and, more importantly, show children their learning and improvement; building self esteem. A post about this target will feature of The Digital Enricher’s Doctrine when trialled and tangible results seen.

For more information about Socrative, a group participation app, click here.

Feedback that moves learning forward

Children are actively encouraged to contribute to their class’s learning blog. Here they can reflect on what they have personally learnt, though more importantly, ask questions and seek replies from the community to move their learning forward. Learning is a community task. We learn best together. Our Learning Blogs allow our learners to learn together and from each other in an easily accessible way, from any device at any time.

Students ars co-learners

Often our projects are collaborative. We use Google Docs a lot. We create one document for the whole class, small groups or pairs to work on together. We encourage them to use the chat function on these web-based programs too as it is automatically recorded and useful assessment data. The revision history function on Google products allows me to see each learner’s contribution, meaningful evidence.

Students own their Learning

We are working on a Google 20 percent time approach where learners first of all consider the subject of their project. They then go away and figure out what it is that they already know about it, what it is that they would like to find out, what it is that their potential audience would like to know and how they are going to go about acquiring this knowledge to share. How they share it is up to them and the decisions that need to be made in order to complete the project is made by them also. They just go to the teacher for a chat seeking advice; using it if they see it as useful or finding another approach that they could argue could be more successful. We are trialling this now with our year 4 class. To read more about this project, click here.

Any thoughts about these Wiliam headings, be it the things we do here or other ideas that are successful at your establishments, are always welcome. Let’s collaborate and make all our learners’ experiences and journeys better for it!


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