Formative assessment is defined as “a process used by teachers and students during instruction that provides feedback to adjust ongoing teaching and learning” (McManus, 2008) and according to Black and Wiliam (2006) there is strong evidence to suggest that formative assessment is central to Raising Attainment. This is because, pupils are more aware of their strengths and weaknesses and can adapt their learning to focus on areas for development (Khan, Davies, Janesh, 2008). Raising attainment is listed as an area for improvement nationally in Scotland, and it is a key priority for North Lanarkshire Council. (National Improvement Framework, 2007) Furthermore, using formative assessment strategies, pupils are able to signal to their teacher that they need help, which has been linked to an improvement within their self-esteem and confidence (McCormick and Harvey 2018). In today’s society, when mental health issues are so rife, teachers should be actively seeking strategies in which they can have a positive impact on pupils’ self-perceptions and in turn, their mental health.
The aim of this enquiry is to assess how useful traffic lights are as both a means of formative assessment and also as a means of “self-monitoring their learning and […] articulating their learning needs” (McCormick and Harvey 2018). It will also be observed whether these strategies have an effect on pupil confidence and attainment.