Claire MacPhee

Business Studies

Bellshill Academy

  • Assessment For Learning

What happens when a ‘no hands approach’ is used in the Classroom?


Raising attainment for all is a current Government strategy being distributed throughout all local authorities and schools across Scotland. Professor Dylan Wiliam states that if we are ‘serious about raising attainment and getting rid of achievement gaps, then we have to create classrooms where participation is compulsory.’ (Wiliam, 2009). Inclusion within the classroom has always been a topic which I am passionate about, but as Wiliam has researched, only 25% of young people consistently put up their hands to answer questions, which only serves to widen the achievement gap in schools. He claims that a no-hands approach helps to engage the whole class and, as such, increase the level of attainment for all young people. This strategy was also introduced last year within my current department, therefore, it was important to me to measure the effectiveness of such a strategy.


The aim of this enquiry was to investigate whether using a no-hands approach when questioning young people would have a positive influence on the level of inclusion, and as a result help to increase the level of attainment for ALL young people. This approach is seen as a method of formative assessment which, according to Wiliam, is a method of assessment used ‘to influence learning.’ He goes on to say that ‘teaching should be contingent on what students have learnt, so that while we’re teaching we collect evidence about where the students are to make adjustments to our teaching to better meet our students’ learning needs.’ (Wiliam, 2009).

Download Practitioner Enquiry