د/ايمان زغلول قاسم

استاذ تكنولوجيا التعليم المشارك بكلية التربية بالزلفي

Assessment 2

Assessment for learning: framework and principles
In 2006, Nicol and Macfarlane-Dick analysed a large body of research in the area of
formative assessment and feedback in order to identify how these processes could
help enhance the development of self-direction and a reflective approach in learners.
From this analysis they were able to identify seven principles of good feedback
practice that, if implemented, would support the development of learner selfregulation.
Each principle is defined in detail in Nicol and Macfarlane-Dick (2006)
alongside the supporting research and recommendations for practice. Figure 1
briefly presents the seven feedback principles:
54 D. Nicol
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The work of Nicol and Macfarlane-Dick is consistent with that of other researchers
who have emphasised the need to develop autonomy in learning (Boud, 2000) and
to involve students as active participants in assessment processes (Brew, 1999). The
seven feedback principles are not new: their value is that each principle is supported
by a substantial body of research, that they are all defined in relation to their
contribution to the development of learner self-regulation, and that taken together
they provide a clear lens through which to design and evaluate practice. It should be
noted here that feedback is defined broadly and encompasses informal and formal
processes including the learner generating their own feedback (e.g. through selfassessment)
and peer processes.
There is little space here to discuss each principle in detail but a few key findings are
important. Firstly Principle 1 underpins all the others. In order to self-regulate their
own learning, students must have a reasonable understanding of what is required in
assessment tasks (i.e. their understanding must overlap with that of their teacher’s).
Yet there is considerable research linking poor performance by students to a failure to
grasp assessment requirements (Higgins et al., 2001; Rust et al., 2003). Secondly, the
principles emphasise the power of dialogue in learning; self-regulation is facilitated
when learning involves the active construction of knowledge through group
interaction, peer feedback and discussion (Brew, 1999; Boud, 2000). Thirdly, selfregulation
requires motivation and a belief that effort will produce results. Research
shows that motivation is neither fixed nor completely determined by the environment
and that students construct their motivation based on their appraisal of the learning
and assessment context (Paris & Turner, 1994). However, teachers can influence this
appraisal through targeted interventions such as providing many low-stakes feedback
opportunities, by fostering learning communities, by focusing students on learning
goals rather than marks and by linking formative tasks to summative assessments
(Nicol & Macfarlane-Dick, 2006). MCQs are not normally associated with research
findings of this kind nor with the seven feedback principles. However, the following
analysis attempts to show the value of making such an association.

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