Formative assessment in the classroom is used to ensure learning intentions are met and that pupil knowledge and understanding are progressing. In addition, formative assessment can allow the teacher to plan the next steps of learning based on pupil feedback.
‘Teachers need to know about their pupils’ progress and difficulties with learning so that they can adapt their work to meet their needs’ – (Black and Wiliam, 1998)
Black and William highlighted that improving formative assessment raises standards. Some surveys published have shown that formative assessment helps the ‘low attainers’ more than the rest, which can have a positive impact on both reducing and raising the attainment gap.
Black and William suggest that pupils can only assess themselves when there is a clear picture of targets to assess against. Sadler (1989) suggested that self-assessment has three factors to consider: the desired goal, the present status and how to close the gap between the two (Black and Wiliam, 1998).
In addition to building on current knowledge and learning, there are two types of feedback that are essential for formative assessment; student to teacher and teacher to student.
Brennan (1988) highlighted that pupils found the following benefits when involved with pupil – teacher engagement through Record of Achievement (RoA); greater involvement in their learning, greater responsibility in their learning and pride and recognition in their learning. In addition, The CoP added that young people are also likely to respond positively if they fully understand the rationale and are given personal responsibility for their own progress (Roller, 1998).
Research by Harte (1996) suggests pupils may act to limit disclosure of knowledge and understanding through questioning. The reasons highlighted in this research highlight that pupils felt concerned about the perception of their peers/teacher not listening to or supporting their needs. In addition, pupils felt that sharing their knowledge may threaten their peer/teacher relationships due to what they felt was a lack of knowledge.
The aim of this enquiry was to determine whether self-assessment could improve pupil learning. The enquiry was split into two parts:
- Self-assessment activity following a lesson based on the relationship between current and resistance.
- Self-assessment activity following a checkpoint revision lesson developed from pupil feedback.