Colin McArthur


Caldervale High

  • Assessment For Learning

What Happens When I Use Plenaries in my Classroom?


The Scottish Government identified an attainment gap between children from areas of multiple deprivation and those from a more affluent background. The consequence of this is that school leavers from more deprived areas are less likely to go onto positive destinations (Scottish Government, 2008).

Dylan Wiliam has long argued of formative assessment’s benefit in reducing this attainment gap (Black & Wiliam, 2001). For that to be the case however, the results must be used to inform teaching and learning. Teachers must reflect on the principles of Curriculum for Excellence to determine pupil progress, which will contribute to the tracking of their achievement. This will also help in planning – ensuring pupils are best prepared for the next stage of learning. (Scottish Government, 2011).

There are a range of plenary activities that can be employed to support formative assessment, which had been used to varying extents prior to the enquiry. It was agreed that all members of the group would engage in reflective based plenaries, among others that suited the pupils they taught, ensuring a common comparison could be made.


This enquiry aims to investigate what impact plenary activities have on pupils’ consolidation of learning, as well as what they may do for the teacher in terms of recognising understanding and acting upon this.

Download Practitioner Enquiry