John Anthony McGoldrick

Primary Teacher

Greenhill Primary School

  • Assessment For Learning

How does self-assessment impact on pupil learning?


Sound pedagogy is essential in order to build a child’s confidence in their successes as sound pedagogy aids a learning environment within which children can confidently engage fully in learning and teaching. Active learning, as defined by Learning and Teaching Scotland (2010), is any teaching strategy that that strives to more directly involve students in the learning process. It is built upon two basic beliefs, “that learning is by nature an active endeavour and that different people learn in different ways” (p17, Meyers & Jones, 1993). As concluded from this reading, when pupils self-assess (analyse and reflect on their own work using particular assessment criteria) as a regular part of classroom activity they:

  • Practice and develop their critical thinking skills
  • Foster within themselves the ability to self-evaluate and correct.
  • Build their own confidence in their abilities.

Assessment in Scottish education can be seen to have had a shift from summative means, using test scores as a means of grouping children, to a more formative based manner. This follows on from the work of Black and William (1998), who proposed re-thinking how we assess young learners to a manner which both supports and reflects the very process of learning. They also attest we can use assessment to influence future learning by informing the next steps of the children’s learning journey, which is further reinforced in Building the Curriculum 4. (Building the Curriculum, 2009). One formative method that can be used to inform next steps is self-assessment, which is the focus of the enquiry.


The aim of this enquiry is to assess the effect of increased self-assessment has on the children’s abilities to identify areas for focus in future lessons.


Download Practitioner Enquiry