Olivia Murphy

Primary Teacher

Our Lady & St. Joseph's Primary

  • Assessment For Learning

What is the Effect of Using Traffic Lights on Pupil Learning in the Classroom?


Self-assessment is an integral part of the learning process. Through self-assessment children acquire a variety of skills which aid their learning. It enables them to know what they have learned by assessing if they were able to complete the task they were given and identifying what help they may need. If self-assessment is used in a variety of learning contexts children are able to judge for themselves which styles of learning are most effective for them by assessing how well the style of lesson allowed them to learn (Arthur and Cremin, 2014). Self- assessment can aid children to understand where their strengths are as they assess there work and can identify which targets they are achieving however they can also become aware of where gaps are in there learning (Alexander, Schallert, & Hare, 1991; Black & Atkin, 1996 cited Sadler and Good 2006). Self-assessment is a valuable tool for children but also provides teachers a further insight into how they are progressing with their learning and which areas require more support allowing teachers to adapt their lessons to meet these needs (Black and William, 1998).

One method which can be used to support this is the use of the traffic lights system. By assessing their learning and selecting a red, orange or green traffic light against their intended learning helps children understand what they need to work on and importantly allows the teacher to plan specifically what a child requires to progress. (Arthur and Cremin, 2014).


The aim of the enquiry was to discover if using traffic lights as a form of self-assessment in the classroom has an impact on children’s learning. If children presented their understanding as orange or red, they were offered extra support in their task. The focus for this enquiry was on spelling. The study aimed to assess if this extra support then impacted the results children obtained in their weekly spelling tests.

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