Teachers' Conceptions of Assessment for Learning: What are the Implications for Children?

Amanda O'Shea

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review


    Abstract This paper describes a multi-case study which linked conceptions and practices of assessment for learning to developing learner autonomy within UK primary mathematics classrooms. The project explored the use of assessment for learning in mathematics lessons with Year 5 (9–10 years old) children and their teachers. Four cases were studied in depth to understand how conceptions and practices impacted upon autonomy and control for teachers and learners. A typology of assessment for learning in mathematics is proposed, along with what this might mean for both teachers and learners in terms of the balance between control and autonomy. One case in particular, that of teacher Alex, is highlighted as it exemplified the expert teacher through the conceptions and use of assessment for learning, which led to the children becoming expert learners of mathematics. The class ethos was one of value for personal autonomy. Responsibility and control of learning was a shared endeavour within a community of learners. Community in this respect was broadened to include the environment and resources within the classroom and so demonstrated learners working within an expert classroom. This article was developed from a paper first presented at the ICME 13 conference (O’Shea, 2016).
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)64-78
    Number of pages15
    JournalPolish Journal of Educational Studies
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2020


    • primary education
    • Mathematics education
    • assessment for learning
    • Pupil perspectives
    • Primary classroom
    • teaching practices
    • learner autonomy


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