Guidance

What is Assessment for Learning (AfL)?

Last Updated: 17th September 2020

Assessment for learning (AFL) is an approach to teaching and learning that creates feedback for the trainee which is then used to improve their performance. 

Good feedback behaviours

Feedback can have a powerful influence on performance. Feedback can trigger different responses, with some trainees receiving it negatively and associating it with criticism. However, feedback can contribute to further development and improvement when done in a positive and constructive way.

The list below are some suggestions given to your training officer to consider when delivering feedback.

  • Find a quiet and private space.
  • Create a respectful, open minded, non-threatening climate
  • Focus specifically on the behaviour and the performance rather than the person.
  • Explain the impact of the behaviour and the performance.
  • Base feedback on observed facts and specifics
  • Give the right amount of feedback specific to the task in hand not about everything that you want to say for the last 6 months!
  • Make sure you are clear on the purpose of the feedback. The only reason feedback should be given is to help the trainee improve.
  • Suggest ideas for improvement
  • Where appropriate, comment on progress over a number of attempts with constructive feedback and next steps of what trainees need to do to improve.
  • Base feedback on well-defined, negotiated goals.
  • Provide enough feedback to support learning and development. Don’t stretch too far. Assess for competence not perfection.
  • Make it a two-way conversation.
  • If the trainee is still unsure of what they need to do in order to improve, ask if they would like advice. Give them specific examples. Coaching, using effective questions, can sometimes be even more effective than giving advice.
  • Allow the feedback to sink in. Provide opportunities for trainees’ to think things through for themselves and reflect on their learning. Listen empathetically.
  • Don’t email negative feedback or wait for an appraisal meeting. Tackle issues as soon as possible. Make feedback a normal routine process so the trainee does not find it unusual.
  • Listen before you speak. There might be something that you are not aware of.
  • Seek to uncover the root of the problem.