Not Large-Scale Assessment

Be aware of the important difference between large-scale and classroom assessment.

The purpose of large-scale assessments is two-fold: to help the system be accountable (Are we making the best use of our resources?) and to identify trends (Are students learning? What and how well?).

To do this, large-scale assessments collect a small amount of information from a large number of students.

Classroom assessment, on the other hand, collects a large amount of information from a small number of students.

Large-scale assessments are designed to give the system feedback so the system can learn; classroom assessment is designed to give individuals feedback so the individual can learn.

Large-scale assessments are designed to assess what students know and can do in relation to what is to be learned, but they do not collect enough information to give a valid picture of what individual students know and can do in a given subject area.

Anne Davies, Ph.D.


Welcome to!
This website is devoted to helping educators use "assessment for learning" to improve student learning and raise standards.

In the short video below, Dr. Anne Davies speaks about the impact that assessment for learning is making in schools. Following the video is an overview of the topic and an introduction to the growing resources available on this website.

We encourage you to look around and sign up for our mailing list to receive valuable information about how assessment for learning is making a difference for students and educators everywhere.

Dr. Anne Davies on "Assessment for Learning"

Most people think of tests and exams that evaluate student learning as primary examples of assessment, but those are examples of assessment of learning. Assessment for learning, also known as classroom assessment, is different.

It is not used to evaluate learning but to help learners learn better. It does so by helping both students and teachers to see:

  • the learning goals and criteria
  • where each learner is in relation to the goals
  • where they need to go next
  • and ways to get there

Many studies have been done over the years to gauge the effectiveness of assessment for learning, and a review of this research in 1998 by Black and Wiliam found that assessment for learning is one of the most powerful ways to improve learning, especially among students who find learning to be more challenging.

This is exciting for educators!

By applying the principles and techniques of assessment for learning, we can help students learn better now and achieve more in all areas of their educational experience.

In addition, assessment for learning is based upon an understanding of student motivation and the psychology of learning, so students become better learners for the rest of their lives as a result of their successful learning experiences.

Assessment for learning makes a difference for students, and from what we have seen, it also results in a more satisfying and enjoyable experience for teachers. Educators become more aware of how students learn and become more engaged with students in the learning process, helping them to set goals and criteria, evaluate their progress, and experience the many small "wins" that lead to them reaching their goals.

This website is brought to you by connect2learning, which publishes a number of titles on assessment for learning and was founded by educators who intend to promote the benefits of this learning.

In this website, you will find many links and resources for educators, leaders, and facilitators (people who help educators to make classroom assessment work for them).

If you have any questions or would like to share comments or suggestions, please get in touch with us and we will do our best to address your concerns.

Thank you!