Assessments for Learning

In the 21st Century Classroom

Assessments for Learning

Assessments for Learning in the 21st Century Classroom

In Rystad’s video “Assessment for Learning” (2013) we were presented with five key strategies that when implemented into the classroom learning environment, they should enable teachers to quickly spot when active learning is taking place, or when a student is in need of assistance in understanding.

The key strategies in the video are straight forward, and very doable, making learning assessments more effective from the teacher’s perspective and actually less stressful for the student. From Rystad’s key strategies a teacher can find varying assessment options to accompany each strategy (2013).

Key Strategies

1: Teachers need to clarify student understanding, and share learning intentions (Rystad, 2013).

This can be done by “presenting students examples of different qualities of work, offering an exit ticket” so to speak, by and “ending lessons with evaluative questions”, and adhering to the “big five" (Rystad, 2013).

“Focusing on the Big Five major skills of the curriculum”

a. Stimulate Analytical Thinking

b. Manage Information

c. Communicating

d. Arouse Conceptional Thought Processes

e. Challenge Meta-Cognation

2: “Teachers need to engineer effective classroom discussions” (Rystad, 2013).

This can be done by providing activities and tasks that can show evidence of student learning. “Teachers can engineer effective classroom discussions” through which they can gage the level of their students understandings (Rystad, 2013). Teachers can also use multi- participation questions, that students can answer simultaneously using a whiteboard or slate (Rystad, 2013).

3: “Provide feedback that propels learners forward” (Rystad, 2013).

Teachers can use a “two stars and a wish” strategy (Rystad, 2013). This is done by providing feedback to students focusing on two things they did well, and letting students know that there is one area of focus that the teacher wishes to see improvement. However, in doing this teachers need to remember to always support arguments with examples (Rystad, 2013).

4: “Activate students as learning resources for one another” (Rystad, 2013).

Rystad (2013) advocates implementing a green, yellow, red, system where students can demonstrate the content understanding of a lesson.

a. Green represents a student understands the content and can explain it back.

b. Yellow suggests a student’s understanding is not quite there, and they are having some difficulties.

c. Red indicates the student is lost and needs immediate help.

When utilizing this system the green students with the higher understanding of the concept, can take a break and help the red students who are completely lost (Rystad, 2013).

5: Activate students as the owners of their own learning (Rystad, 2013).


Rystad (2013) expresses that students need to always check with three different resources before coming to the teacher for help. It is also suggested that students keep a reflective logbook of their learnings.

My Thoughts on Formative and Summative Assessments

Formative Assessments

I think that by utilizing the Rystad’s five strategies for learning assessments, that teachers could really get a good glimpse into how well their students are learning subject content. I know it is difficult at times to determine if tasks and activities are really making an impression and activating quality learning in students, making the dreaded summative assessments necessary. I see formative assessments as presented above as, a way to introduce fun into the classroom, without the students realizing that they are essentially being quizzed. There is also the huge benefit of being able to realign lesson plans that are not producing desirable learning in students.

Summative Assessments

Summative assessments are stressful to both students and teachers alike, however they are necessary to show that progress is being made in the classroom. These assessments are like the teachers report card, in that if their students do well, the teacher passes, if their students do poorly that is also a reflection of the teachers work. However, summative assessments can many times spot problem areas that we as, teachers may not see. I am not a huge fan of summative assessments, because I personally do not test well and I know quite a few people who are the same. I can know something inside out and backwards and still do poorly on a test, leaving me to wonder just how reliable the information gained from summative assessments really is.

Implementing Both Assessments

My classroom will definitely have both summative and formative assessments, as both are necessary and useful. However, I think that the more formative assessments that I use in the everyday classroom, the less summative assessments will be thought of by the students as something to be hated as, they should be confidant in their skills and knowledge. I really like all of Rystad’s strategies, and I can see them all working for my teaching style. I lean more towards a student centered learning environment than a teacher driven type classroom, making formativee assessments a big part of how I will teach.

Something to Think About

“The best feedback is not the feedback given to the student, but the one given to the teacher to collect and read” from the works in the class. “Then you can “plan and adjust your next lesson to meet student needs” (Rystad, 2013).

MY Thoughts



Rystad, M. (2013, April 7). Assessment for learning [Video file]. Retrieved from: