Graeme Brown

Technical Education

Clyde Valley High

  • Assessment For Learning

The Use of Traffic Lighting to Evaluate Pupil Progress


Formative assessment is very much an increasingly popular approach for teachers in Scottish education at the moment. As part of the Scottish Government’s area of focus in tracking and monitoring of pupils throughout their educational years, formative assessment can provide an enjoyable approach to an area that can sometimes prove daunting to individuals. As tracking and monitoring is at the forefront of focus for teachers, certain uses of formative assessment can provide an enjoyable, stimulating, inclusive approach to gaining valuable information to track pupils throughout their progression.

Formative assessment can also be used as a valuable tool for teachers to help plan and create stimulating lessons relevant to each individual class and pupil (Bryce, 2013). Effective efficient and informative feedback in a profession that includes a wide range of differing situations can be pivotal in assisting a pupils’ learning potential.

Ramaprasad suggests that feedback helps identify the difference between individual knowledge and the desired requirement level (1983). Traffic light system ensures the individual is not simply given a grade to compare with others but is also given verbal feedback. Through experience this has allowed the pupils to feel like they are responsible for their own learning. Through experience, an individual tends to prioritise a score or grade for assessment over constructive feedback as it gives them an instant, measurable result which they can compare with their peers (Bryce, 2013). This immediate gratification leads to little or no feedback retention for the individual on their understanding of learning: negatives or areas of required improvement are overlooked in favour of focusing on what the positive outcomes are.


The aim of this enquiry is to explore a new approach of formative assessment to inform and plan future lessons. The purpose of such is to give the pupils involved in the enquiry the ability to influence their own learning. This also provides away of tracking and monitoring each individual pupils’ progress throughout their education.

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