David Spendlove is well known for his work in AfL, indeed his previous book Putting Assessment for Learning into Practice is a volume I have used for ideas about how to improve my teaching as well as sharpening my theoretical knowledge in this area. The book offered a strong evidence-based foundation which helped deepen understanding in this area. In my view, Spendlove has improved upon this work in his latest book 100 Ideas for Secondary Teachers: Assessment for Learning. This series has a genuine practical focus and this book is no different, offering masses of practical advice for any teacher at whatever level of their career or experience.
The book covers the core areas of questioning, feedback, marking and improving behaviour. What is particularly useful in this work is the variety of methods that Spendlove offers to create a genuine and purposeful learning dialogue, both written and verbal. This has been a particular and significant focus for Ofsted inspections in local schools over the past eighteen months and, indeed, my current school are exploring ways on how to engage in creating a purposeful learning dialogue. They would do well to consult this book as they would avoid the prescriptive narrow method of every teacher doing the same thing, which loses its impact with students due to saturation and boredom of using the same methods in every lesson. Instead, this book offers a whole host of guidance and methods which gives teachers the freedom to choose effective activities that checks and assesses student progress in a variety of ways, promoting engagement as well as ensuring you have a strong picture of how your classes are progressing.
As with all the other 100 ideas books, which have been restructured under Bloomsbury’s guidance, each idea is presented in an accessible format where you are offered not only an outline of the activity but also ideas on how to develop the activity as well as prompts on thinking how to apply the ideas to your own teaching toolkit. The ideas themselves are mixture of old, tried and tested ideas with a new spin as well as genuinely new ideas that slot into any lesson and would impress any observer. A highly recommended book for anyone wanting to improve and sharpen their work in assessment for learning.