Formative assessment is defined as a framework that is used to promote the learning and engagement of pupils (Lipnevich et al., 2013). There are a multitude of practices of formative assessment that can be utilised to assess pupils’ progression and improve their learning, and these include observation, question and answer sessions, group discussions, workstations, quizzes, exit passes and debates, to name a few (Laveault and Allal, 2016).
The effectiveness of this pedagogical framework in promoting pupil learning, relies on determining where the learners are in their learning, establishing where they are heading and determining what needs to be done to get them to that stage in their learning (Ramaprasad, 1983). Black and Wiliam (1998) support this by advocating that once it’s been established how a pupil is progressing and what stage they are at in their learning, the next step is to provide them with necessary support to guide them onto that next stage. This is the responsibility of both the teacher, by providing feedback, and pupil through peer and self- assessment. In contrast, they also argued that pupils may not know how to self-assess, which could call the effectiveness of self-assessment into question.
Ultimately, formative assessment leads to an improved learning outcome for pupils because by providing opportunities to understand what has been said through discussion with their teacher and through self-regulation by using self and peer assessment, pupils enhance their capability to develop strategies, set goals and manage their understanding and attitude through time (Moos and Ringdal, 2012).
Therefore, it is for these reasons and the relevance of this for a practitioner that has led this enquiry to focus on exit passes as one technique of formative assessment and determine how useful they are in promoting pupil learning.
The aims of this enquiry were to investigate the effects of implementing exit passes, in a secondary science classroom setting, as a means of formative assessment on pupils’ learning and on their next steps through allowing them to self-assess.