Curriculum for Excellence has placed a huge importance on the role of formative assessment in the classroom (Scottish Government, 2005). Formative assessment helps pupils recognise their own strengths and abilities and also identifies areas for development (Wiliam, 2011). There are many forms of formative assessment: observing children at work; questioning for understanding; show me boards and self or peer assessment (Hattie, 2012). Peer assessment is a popular strategy used throughout my school, particularly during daily writing tasks in the Active Literacy programme. This strategy is mainly used by children in the middle and upper stages of primary. Training the children in the upper primaries has resulted in them being able to give fairly constructive comments to their peers, using success criteria to assist them. I therefore felt there was a need to introduce peer assessment in simple ways from primary one, in order to expose the children to this strategy from as early in their school career as possible. This will ensure they are better equipped to give constructive feedback to their peers. Vygotsky suggests that children can benefit from working with a ‘more knowledgeable other’ (McLeod, 2014). It is for this reason that the children in the class often work in mixed ability pairs or groups. The use of checkpoints throughout lessons was to provide the children with an opportunity to improve their work at the point of doing it, instead of at the end of a task.
The aim of this enquiry was to observe the impact, if any, which peer assessment at checkpoints had on the work produced by four children of mixed ability when introduced to a primary one class.