Over recent years in Scotland, formative assessment has been a pivotal approach within the primary school in relation to assessing the development of children’s learning and success within the classroom (Sadler, 1998). The power of formative assessment details a predominant strategy in children’s learning today in order to improve learner performance (Bryce, 2018). Formative assessment is therefore referred to as ‘Assessment is for Learning’ (AifL). The philosophy behind this is that assessment and teaching should be interrelated (McNamee & Chen, 2005). Therefore, AifL has become an integral aspect of teaching and learning in Scotland and Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) recognises the importance of assessment and its validity in providing feedback to pupils. Feedback to pupils is a fundamental aspect of the teaching and learning process where the identification of next steps in learning is seen at the heart of this.
In the primary school there are different types of approaches used within Assessment is for Learning. As formative assessment is the interactive process of continuous learning, feedback is a strategy which seeks to enable improvement of teaching and learning (Haug & Odegaard, 2015). Therefore, it is one of the most powerful influences on achievement. Peer-assessment is a component of this, which for learning involves pupils taking the responsibility of assessing each other’s work. An advantage of using peer-assessment can be increased pupil engagement. By assessing their partners’ work, pupils are more likely to secure success within the classroom as they are able to relate their learning to their own thinking and mind-set (Evans et al., 2013). Thus building upon children’s self-esteem and confidence. Different research projects have found that peer-assessment can lead to a broad scale of improvement within learning which evidently adds to children’s attainment and achievement. An example of peer-assessment is the use of a learning grid or rubric. This links to the success criteria of a lesson where children are able to know where they have achieved and where they need to develop.
As a cross-sector group, we picked out a common area of interest in peer-assessment and decided to use the peer-assessment technique of a learning grid. This approach is a positive way to allow children to assess their own achievement. The enquiry will examine the connection between using peer-assessment and children’s achievement in writing.
The aim of this enquiry was to evaluate the success of using a peer-assessment grid technique to improve the achievement and engagement of children in their learning in writing in the primary school classroom.