Practitioner enquiry captures the essence of effective teaching allowing educators to have a ‘better understanding of their practice and ways to improve it’ (McLaughlin, 2004). Reflecting on this statement I agree that it is so important for teachers to enquire into any aspects of classroom practice they feel are impacting the children and their learning (GTCS, 2012, a). Looking more specifically at my own area of interest, I would like to know more about the impact it has on pupils learning and development which would help support and inform my future practice.
Curriculum for Excellence provides educators with unparalleled opportunity to raise attainment for all children at all levels. To support the aim towards raising attainment with our curriculum, the Scottish Government set out to provide an overall assessment strategy. The assessment strategy set out a framework for practitioners, providing them with detailed guidance on how the assessment could be used to raise standards, expectations, promote depth of understanding and improve skills.
The implementation of Assessment is for learning (AIFL) has undoubtedly generated a new outlook on assessment. It has allowed students to become more involved in the learning process, gaining confidence in what they are expected to learn and to what standard thus developing greater independence to evaluate their own learning experiences. With a more child centred approach, students can become more active in their thinking and can reflect on where they are now, where they want to be and how they are going to get there. Self-assessment is a self-regulatory proficiency that is a key element within formative assessment.
That said, RED states that the accuracy of self-assessment among younger children is often low and consequently self- regulated learning can lead to suboptimal learning outcomes if not modelled effectively. In my own experience, I found this to be the case when engaging in this aspect of formative assessment in the classroom. Thus I became professional curious as to what could be used to develop self-assessment in classroom and set out to explore what happens when a checklist is used to self-assess learning in the classroom in the hope to improve the quality of self-assessment in the classroom.
The overall aim of the enquiry was to see what happens when I introduced self-assessment checklists in my classroom when teaching literacy. The checklists were designed to be motivating for the children and a gentle reminder of what the expectations of the task were. Through identifying a small focus group it allowed me to monitor progress in line with the learning intention and success criteria and identify who was on track and who needed additional support with the literacy tasks provided.