Amy Rogersen

Primary Teacher

Chapelhall Primary

  • Assessment For Learning

Using Traffic Lights in the Classroom


Assessment is for Learning (AiFL) has become more prominent within the classroom, with a concentration on the use of formative assessment. Education Scotland (2005) asserts that AiFL can have an important impact on children’s learning and can improve their life skills for the future.

Formative assessment is used by both teachers and students as a way of informally assessing students’ progress and areas for development. Wiliam (2011) suggests that using formative assessment allows teachers to confirm whether the learning taking place has been successful or not, which may result in the teacher evaluating their approach to improve learners understanding or give them the confirmation the children are ready to progress with their learning. Formative assessment also allows children to take ownership of their learning, identifying their own next steps and celebrating success, which in turn motivates children to progress within their learning (Klenowski, 1995).

Formative assessment can be implemented in many ways within the classroom. One particular method is self-assessment. This involves students reflecting upon their own work and identifying their own next steps in order to improve their learning, giving students more agency in order to progress successfully (Harris & Brown, 2018). The Scottish Government (2011) promote the use of self-assessment within classrooms as it allows students to be reflective of their own learning and, in turn, make positive improvements to their learning.

The use of self-assessment is a regular occurrence in my classroom and is used to encourage pupils to become more independent and reflective learners. Learners are encouraged to use the shared Learning Intentions and Success Criteria to reflect on their work and construct feedback for themselves identifying areas of strength and development. In order to evaluate the effectiveness of self-assessment within my classroom, I have decided to integrate daily traffic lighting into Literacy lessons. Pupils will identify a green, amber or red traffic light in their jotter as well as sorting their work into green, amber and red marking trays once finished. In addition to this, pupils will create constructive feedback for themselves in order to reflect and improve on their work. 


The aim of this enquiry was to evaluate if using traffic lights as a self-assessment tool has an impact on children’s learning. Children who indicated a green traffic light were challenged in their learning and children who indicated an amber or red traffic light were offered additional support when completing their tasks. Students were already familiar with using traffic lights as part of their daily routine, however, this study enforced using traffic lights purely as a self-assessment tool and was implemented in a more structured manner than previously. Enforcing the use of traffic lightening allowed me to evaluate the learning taking place and identify any additional support for pupils or perhaps adopt a different approach to the learning.

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