Assessment is a critical part of the school culture and reinforces Curriculum for Excellence (Scottish Government, 2011). Curriculum for Excellence allows learners to grow in experience and become confident individuals, responsible citizens, effective contributors and successful learners. Teachers are required to use various forms of assessment to ensure that pupils are successful in their learning and are achieving their learning objectives. Black and William (2009) have developed research focused on the role of formative assessment and the effect it has on pupil’s progress. The research concluded that in order to be effective formative feedback should be ongoing in order for pupils to evaluate their own learning and develop their knowledge and skills. They emphasise, for this to be effective, pupils must be involved in the process, which would allow the teacher to adjust and improve their teaching strategies responsively.
The use of formative assessment strategies is the basis for supporting pupils’ development. The idea that pupils’ development can be supported using formative assessment is visible through peer-assessment. This approach promotes co-operative learning in order to assess each other, showing support, giving advice and praise referring to the success criteria (Black and William, 1998). Boon (2013) suggested that for peer-assessment to be effective, children must acquire the relevant skills and understanding of how to assess. Peer-assessment provides opportunities to develop a variety of social and communication skills such as; talking and listening, problem solving and working in collaboration with others. This is also supported within the Scottish Government document, Building the Curriculum 5, which explains the importance of assessing personal qualities and skills such as, creative thinking, making informed decisions and working in partnerships. Simpson (2001) agrees that children need more than knowledge and they should have the opportunity to develop skills they will require throughout their life.
The aim of this enquiry is to explore the use of a peer assessment checklist to improve the quality of feedback and reduce errors in children’s writing.