Paula McCafferty

Primary Teacher

Our Lady & St. Francis Primary

  • Assessment For Learning

What happens when I use the 2 stars and a wish technique in the classroom?


The objective of this enquiry was to examine the use of peer assessment in the classroom, in particular the technique of 2 stars and a wish. The reason assessment was the area in which the group chose to examine, was due to the fact that the area of assessment is such a broad area. Assessment is for learning is a key focus of the Curriculum for Excellence (CfE), and it is split into 2 sections, formative and summative. In regards to this enquiry, the group looked into the area of formative assessment in respect to peer assessment. Peer assessment is when learners assess each other’s work and the teacher is the facilitator. Shirley Clarke is known for her role in putting forward the techniques that teachers could use in the area of formative assessment. She states that learners should be introduced to self, peer and teacher feedback in their learning and that formative assessment should tell the learners what they have done well and why it is good (Clarke, 2001) “Formative assessment is an integral part of teaching and learning. It contributes to learning through providing feedback. It should indicate what is good about a piece of work and why this is an effective tool to use within the classroom; it should also indicate what is not effective and how the work could be improved. Effective formative feedback will affect what the pupil and the teacher do next” (Clarke, 2001 ). The work of Carol Dweck has examined the importance of developing a growth mindset in learners and this comes from learners being told what they have done well and how and changing their mindset in regards to assessment. Dweck argues that we should praise achievement and not ability and that peer assessment is hugely beneficial in the classroom (Dweck, 2008). Dylan Wiliam also argues that teachers need to provide feedback that will push learning forward and that learners will take on board to further there learning. Wiliam’s also believes that peer assessment in the classroom can have a positive effect on learning and that learners respond positively to the feedback from their peers as they are trying to impress them (Wiliam, 2011).


The aim of this study was to examine if learners would respond positively to the feedback that their peers would give them through the technique of 2 stars and a wish. There is a range of formative assessments techniques that could be used such as traffic light red, amber or green. However this enquiry wanted to examine 2 stars and a wish as it was giving learners 2 positive achievements from their work and one area where the need to improve. Formative assessment is used daily in the classroom and learners respond well to verbal and written feedback from the teacher and this enquiry wanted to look at how learners would respond when their peers assessed their work and if they would in fact take on board the area that they had to improve.

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