Black P, Harrison C, Lee C, Marshall B, Wiliam D. Working inside the Black Box: Assessment for Learning in the Classroom. Phi Delta Kappan. 2004;86(1):8-21. doi:10.1177/003172170408600105
Dylan and Wiliam implemented a study of 24 Math and Science teachers in England.
They aimed to investigate whether improving the quality of teachers’ day-to-day classroom assessment could have a significant impact on student learning.
Through improved questioning techniques, comments for improvement as opposed to grading, and involving students in self and peer assessment, teachers found that attitude and motivation, as well as academic achievement, improved.
Dylan and Wiliam's previous research, Inside The Black Box: Raising Standards Through Classroom Assessment pioneered the ways in which formative assessment is perceived and implemented in the classroom.
With this paper, they aimed to investigate two key questions:
The study was designed and implemented through the King's-Med way-Oxfordshire Formative Assessment (KMOFAP) Project.
It involved 24 Math and Science teachers across six coeducational schools in Southern England.
Each teacher implemented changes across four teaching strategies:
One of the main findings was the way in which teachers’ perceptions of implementing these strategies changes. At first, many found the new approach to be ‘scary’, and were fearful of losing control of their classes.
Towards the projects’ conclusion, they reported feeling as equal partners and sharing responsibility with their students in pursuit of a shared goal.
This signified that both teacher and student expectations of their individual roles had been significantly altered.
Dylan and Wiliam note that these changes came about slowly and steadily, as teachers grew in confidence and experience to use strategies for enriching interaction and feedback.
Shifting the nature of collaboration between students and teachers produces a supportive environment for students to explore their own and peer ideas, and evaluate these.
More specifically, verbal and written feedback that highlights expectations and steps for improvement was found to enhance students’ skills and strategies for effective learning.
Dylan and Black recommend practical, achievable steps for meaningful implementation of assessment in the classroom.
Black P, Harrison C, Lee C, Marshall B, Wiliam D. Working inside the Black Box: Assessment for Learning in the Classroom. Phi Delta Kappan. 2004; 86(1): 8-21. doi: 10.1177 /003172170 408600105