Emma Devine

Primary Teacher

Carnbroe Primary

  • Digital Learning: Formative Assessment

What happens to children’s engagement when traffic lights are introduced as a means of Self-Assessment in the virtual classroom?


Assessment within education is a key component of the learning process. In particular, formative assessment and the strategies used within this are essential in supporting both learners and practitioners identify strengths and areas which require further support and development. This notion is supported by the Scottish Government’s Curriculum for Excellence (2011) which recognises children’s development in the classroom via the use of formative assessment and the opportunities these methods present such as improving pupil confidence and understanding around reflecting on their learning. Making Maths Count (2016) notes the essential need for improvements towards attitudes and confidence in maths in Scotland’s effort to raise attainment. With this, as well as considering the importance of improving general anxieties towards maths, this curricular area was chosen as the focus for this enquiry. 

Taking into account the various stages taught within our enquiry group, we decided to focus on a formative assessment strategy that can be utilised by pupils of varying ages. Furthermore, we agreed that the impact of using traffic lighting as a self-assessment tool could be investigated through both online and in class learning. Black and Wiliam (1998) concluded that formative assessment had a more positive impact on children requiring further support than those in need of extra challenge. With this in mind, we decided that traffic lighting was an interesting area of assessment that would enable all learners the opportunity to engage in and evaluate their understanding and learning. 

Through observations, discussions, and online feedback, I found that some pupils lacked confidence in asking for assistance with their tasks or did not fully understand their learning when questioned about it. This was another key reason behind choosing this enquiry as I wanted to investigate and ultimately improve children’s ability to reflect on their learning and communicate how confident they felt in successfully completing tasks based on learning. 


The aim of this enquiry was to investigate what impact the implementation of traffic lights as a self-assessment tool had on children’s engagement and confidence in the curricular area of maths.  

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