“If an assessment asks students to evaluate and create, but our instruction asks only that they remember and comprehend, then we’ve taken a wrong direction.”

Mike Fisher

Although appearing last on this list, there is an argument for placing assessment at the front end of our learning design of a hybrid approach.

To enable students to take charge of their learning, they need to be deliberately and systematically taught how to be assessment capable and active in their learning[1]

The strategy here is to use criteria and progressions frameworks to provide transparency in the learning process and thus develop assessment-capable or active learners/ākonga  who can use these things to understand:

  • What they need to learn
  • Where they are with that learning 
  • What their next learning steps are. 

By providing this information at the beginning of a learning experience it will be clear to students how they will be assessed and based on what criteria, and enable them to focus on being able to create and provide the evidence they need to demonstrate success.

Assessment becomes a part of the learning process, informing next steps and is ‘owned’ by the learner, rather than being something external to them. Because if the transparency of this process, everyone can be involved in providing objective feedback – peers, parents/whānau, other teachers etc. – based on the evidence presented by the learner.

To achieve this level of transparency and to empower learners/ākonga  to become assessment capable you should…

  1. Clearly articulate the specific skills and knowledge you want to see students demonstrate right before they start each learning experience.
  2. Double check your alignment between what you teach, your outcomes, and your assessments. 
  3. Share or co-construct assessment criteria before student start work on assessments.
  4. Use assessment tools, like checklists and rubrics, that a student can interpret without understanding what you are thinking. 
  5. Have students give each other feedback using the criteria.

We need to avoid the tracking, testing and retaining practices that so often hold students back. Students view these as punishment like a curse that keeps on giving. It may happen once but its effects chip away at student confidence and competence for a lifetime. (Quinn, Gardner, Drummy and Fullan, 2021)

Questions you could use to help identify the assessment practices in your context include:

  • Is there an emphasis on assessment for learning in your approach to assessment?
  • How do your learners/ākonga  know what is required of them in their learning and how it is going to be measured?
  • Are they aware of what progression looks like in order that they can set their own learning goals and ‘next steps’ in learning?
  • Do your learners/ākonga  understand the value of and need for providing evidence to demonstrate their success in learning?
  • Are learners/ākonga  involved in the co-construction of criteria and indicators of success as part of the learning design process?


This post is one of a series of ten being published on this blog that are taken from the document “Codifying Teacher Practice”. This document has been written to provide educators with some guidance on how to approach the challenge of shifting their pedagogical approach as they embrace hybrid learning and includes templates and activity to help educators and leaders explore this in their own context. This paper follows two previous thought pieces relating to hybrid learning, both of which can be found on the FutureMakers website. If you’d like to receive an advance copy of this paper please email derek@futuremakers to have one emailed to you.

Leave a Reply