5 Assessment for Learning techniques for ICT or Computing

Here are 5 assessment for learning techniques you may wish to try out. They are generic, but I think they are especially useful in the context of Computing and ICT. As well as my own work and experience, I have drawn on Dylan Wiliam’s book, Embedded Formative Assessment, Black and Wiliam’s Inside the Black Box.

(Disclosure: if you purchase those books via those links, I'll earn a small commission.)

Assessment for Learning involves good questioning

Pre-flight checklist

Before student hands in a piece of work, a friend has to check that s/he has included all the necessary elements. EG before submitting a blog post, check that a suitable illustration is included, with a caption, that the post addresses the question/problem set etc.


Including questions like: "What do you need to do next, and what do you need to do/learn in order to be able to achieve that?" (but expressed differently, obviously!). It should also be reflective/dynamic. EG, rather than ask, "How do you think you did?", or as well as that, it should ask "What did you do, why, how could you have done it differently/more efficiently? etc)

Visual checks EG traffic light system

This consists of a list of items and 3 columns for tick-boxes: green, amber, red. A tick in the green box means OK, one in the amber box means "keep an eye on this" and one in the red box means "attention needed". These visual checks could easily be electronic, could be adapted to a variety of topics/processes/skills and could be undertaken in 5 or 10 minutes by pupils themselves, at any time they or their teacher felt it to be appropriate. The traffic light system is a very good way of finding out what a pupil knows -- or think she knows -- on a given topic. Pupils can also use it to check whether they have the skills set they need in order to carry out the next piece of work.

Thinking prompts


  • “Something I found surprising this lesson was...”
  • “Something I learnt today was...”

Contrast questions

EG “Why is Python a programming language while HTML is not?”

If you found these useful, you may find an expanded list useful too. Called “19 Assessment for Learning Techniques”, it’s available to subscribers of Digital Education, our free newsletter. On confirming your subscription, you’ll be sent an email with a link to the document. If you already subscribe, you’ll receive a special edition of the newsletter containing the link.

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