Assessment for learning is a widely used term and the concept forms the basis of many teaching innovations in higher education. However, the definitions and scope of assessment for learning vary considerably. We describe a conceptualisation of assessment for learning that encompasses current thinking in a holistic way and which has been trialled and extensively refined in practice. A student questionnaire is presented which has enabled us to explore the student experience. Results indicate that the overall student experience is more positive in modules where assessment for learning approaches are used and students are more likely to take a deep approach to learning. It also demonstrates that the student experience is centred on staff support and module design, feedback, active engagement and peer learning. The full questionnaire is made available and its wider use in evaluation, enhancement and research is encouraged.