Assessment is for Learning (AiFL) has been a salient component of Curriculum for Excellence since its inception and has contributed to the challenge of closing the attainment gap. It was defined by Williams (2011) as a method which encompasses all activities undertaken by teachers or pupils that in turn produce feedback that moves learners forward and can be used to adapt and enhance teaching and learning. The principle characteristic of AiFL is effective feedback provided by teachers to their learners using their professional judgement. The value of the feedback is dependent on two factors: the quality of the feedback and how learners receive and ultimately use it (Jones, 2005).
AiFL takes place while learning is still in progress in order to enhance learning by encouraging pupils to make relevant adaptations while they are still actively engaged in the learning. McLean (2003) seeks to provide insight into how both positive and constructive feedback throughout learning can impact upon self-esteem, engagement and motivation by scaffolding learning and thus improving pupil attainment and achievement.
Vygotsky’s Zone of proximal development supports the use of verbal feedback as it fits with a social constructivist perspective on learning that details the important role social interactions have on children’s ability to retain information (Powell and Kalina, 2009). Furthermore, Building the Curriculum 5: A framework for Assessment (Scottish Government, 2011) supports a greater breadth and depth of learning and encourages learner involvement in reflection with the aim to create a more effective assessment system.
The overarching aim of this enquiry was to evaluate the impact instant individual feedback had in the classroom. In particular, we were seeking to identify how this affected children’s motivation and attainment.