Assessment is a natural and fundamental principle of effective learning and teaching in the primary classroom. It is an umbrella term that encompasses many elements of the role of a teacher including assessing children’s understanding, planning for next steps and measuring pupil performance against targets and outcomes (Hargreaves, 2005). Assessment is for Learning (AiFL) is a process which has encouraged practitioners to consider the way in which assessment is used and built upon in the classroom environment. Clarke (2014) states the “most powerful educational tool for raising attainment and preparing children to be lifelong learners is formative assessment”. Formative assessment encapsulates the vital elements of enhancing pupil’s learning through clarification of learning intensions and success criteria, providing effective feedback in a variety of ways that will continue to progress learning, and motivating pupils to become leaders in their own learning (Leahy, et al, 2005). However, what happens when that role of teacher, as we know it is redefined and the opportunity for learning and teaching with face-to-face, verbal and instant feedback is removed? Metacognition is a skill in which children reflect on their own understanding and the process by which they got to that point. This skill is applied through the use of self-assessments in the case of this practitioner enquiry, the mode of self-assessment implemented was a checklist. Checklists were used as a form of self-assessing reading comprehension tasks. Checklists were chosen as a way of providing pupils with success criteria which they could then use to reflect on their own written tasks.
This area was chosen as the basis of my practitioner enquiry as an exploration of how we can assess reading remotely when we cannot listen and hear children read. This consideration was underpinned by the perception that reading comprehension tasks can allow us to explore how effectively children can decode words, use the narrative to visualise the story, apply understanding through prior knowledge, and evidence this in written tasks.
The aim of this practitioner enquiry was to explore the effectiveness of using checklists as a mode of self-assessment on reading comprehension tasks while learning from home. Within this aim were two key questions.
- Will completing a checklist with pre-determined success criteria improve the standard of Read to Write tasks completed whilst learning online from home?
- Will using a checklist support pupils in forming their next steps for in reading comprehension tasks?