Rachael Anderson

Primary Teacher

Townhead Primary

  • Digital Learning: Formative Assessment

What happens to children’s engagement when traffic lights are introduced as a means of Self-Assessment in the virtual classroom?


With the prevalence of digital learning this year, teachers had to quickly adapt and change their teaching from in-class, face to face teaching, to online digital learning (Abaci et al, 2020). Education Scotland supports this as it highlights that digital technology must integrate in all areas of the curriculum and assessment. It drives educational leaders of change to create innovative digital teaching and learning (Education Scotland, 2021). Shepard (2019) states that formative assessment is an ongoing  assessment utilised by teachers and children to track their progress and make thinking clear and visible to progress the teaching to suit the child’s current needs. Curriculum for Excellence highlights that making the most out of the principles of the curriculum and establishing success and achievement in them, is likely if the pupils helped to become active participants in their own learning (Scottish Government, 2011). 

Tracking and monitoring pupils’ engagement throughout this period of digital learning was critical to maintaining a quality education and providing adequate support to all pupils. It was important to discover how the children thought they are progressing with the work given to them. Therefore, my professional enquiry group decided using self-assessment as a means of formative assessment, more specifically, introducing traffic lights, would provide us with this valuable insight. In turn, this can improve our own practice by gathering which areas of work need more support and guidance within numeracy and enables us to better plan and deliver online teaching lessons. 

In this professional enquiry, we wanted to find out if using self-assessment, in terms of traffic lights, affects a pupil’s engagement in relation to numeracy. It is worth mentioning that the numeracy lessons I used for this enquiry were money based lessons catered to early and first level pupils. Kearney (2013) defined self-assessment as pupil’s involvement in identifying the steps needed to apply to their work and the ability to make judgements determining if they feel they met this criteria. By incorporating traffic lights as a means of formative assessment, learners can improve their numeracy ability as the question focuses on how they carried out their work to find the answer, rather than what had been done (Davies, 2006). Traffic lighting work green represents the child has been confident the learning outcome has been achieved and they understood their tasks, orange represents that they felt they partially met their learning outcome and red represents the child believes they have not met the learning outcome. The use of traffic lights is a visual way of representing how the child has reflected on their own learning and providing next steps. This allows me to effectively provide support and challenge where needed. 

This study is significant as it provides evidence of the relationship between pupils perception of the self-assessment process and their ability to engage digitally with their numeracy tasks due to this.  


To measure what happens to children’s confidence and engagement within the curricular area of maths when traffic lights are introduced as a means of self-assessment in the virtual classroom. 

Download Practitioner Enquiry