The use of formative assessment has long been considered a fundamental element of modern learning and teaching. Its effectiveness and importance is highlighted in our own Curriculum for Excellence (CfE). And as such, as teachers in Scotland, it is expected that we have knowledge of why formative assessment is effective, and have the ability to utilise it effectively in our teaching. In the 2010 book ‘The Handbook of Formative Assessment’ (Andrade & Cizek) it is stated that formative assessment is used to “identify the student’s strengths and weaknesses, to assist educators in the planning of subsequent instruction, to aid students in guiding their own learning, revising their own work and gaining self-evaluation skills, and to foster increased autonomy and responsibility for learning on the part of the student”. This definition clearly shows the power of formative assessment in helping both teachers and learners become reflective practitioners by identifying areas of strength and weakness and by allowing children to take control of their learning by planning out their next steps.
I have always aimed to implement Assessment Is For Learning (AiFL) strategies into my lessons, with particular focus on self and peer-assessment. For this reason I chose to focus my enquiry on peer-assessment as I wish to try and improve my own knowledge of this area and its relevant application within the classroom setting. I also hoped to improve the skills and knowledge of the -in my classes with regard to peer-assessment. My aim was to do this by teaching my leaners how to make feedback informative and also by giving them the tools they needed to take the next step after either giving or receiving feedback.
The aims of my enquiry were as follows:
- To establish whether learners understood the concept of peer-assessment.
- To attempt to measure whether or not learners used peer-assessment to aid progress in their learning.