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It seems that Assessment for Learning in Scotland is not being swallowed as readily as in Northern Ireland.

Assessment without measurement

A guest speaker at the Annual Conference of Headmasters in Scotland created an embarrassment when he criticised the use of “brain training” devices as an aid to the teaching of maths.

Professor Della Sala is prominently featured on the Learning and Teaching Scotland website on the Learning about Learning section http://www.ltscotland.org.uk/learningaboutlearning/aboutlal/biogs/biogsergiodellasala.asp

Note the QUB link to AfL: Carol Magennis


Dr Sergio Della Sala is Professor of Human Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Edinburgh. His research focuses on the relationship between the brain and behaviour, with particular reference to memory and amnesia. He has held appointments at various university institutions throughout the world. Sergio has published many influential papers and has written several books related to the brain.

“The message for parents, is always look at the available data.”

Professor Della SalaThe criticism from Professor Della Sala came in a speech to Scotland’s headteachers at their annual conference. He said: “This research shows that when pupils in a school use a games console after 10 weeks they become a bit better in performing maths but the same applies to the students who did not use the console.

“It may be fun, but it is not a learning device.”

“The message for teachers who are bombarded with these new flim-flam initiatives about how they should improve their teaching is they are good professionals, they should resist.

“The message for parents, is always look at the available data.

“Who says this improves the performance of their kids? Show me the evidence.

“This study shows there is no advantage – why should we spend money on finding out more rather than spending money on good teaching and good learning?”

Professor Della Sala’s comments were undoubtedly unexpected; the errors behind Assessment for Learning were not.