The group decided to focus on self-assessment for our enquiry as it was agreed that it was an important part of learning and teaching. Formative assessment is an integral part of the learning process and it allows the teacher to adjust their teaching to meet the needs of the learner. Self- assessment also allows the learner to take some control over their own learning. The aim of the enquiry was to find out what impact the traffic light self-assessment method had on informing the next steps of teaching and learning in the classroom. The group wanted to use a form of self-assessment that could be incorporated into both the primary and secondary sector, and across different subject areas. The group opted for the traffic light method as it is flexible and can be easily integrated into learning and teaching across different subject areas and levels. Pupils were shown the learning intentions and success criteria for the lesson and then they assessed if they had met the success criteria and if there was anything that they were unsure of. The enquiry took place over a 4-week period and covered a range of curricular areas, including numeracy, literacy, maths and social subjects. There was a wide range of pupils participating in the enquiry, ranging from Primary 2 to S.2 and the pupils that were involved had different learning needs and abilities. Due to the range of stages and abilities, different forms of the traffic light self-assessment method were used throughout the enquiry.
The findings of this enquiry were generated from the reactions and feedback from the pupils, as well as professional observation within the classroom. As a group it was agreed that the traffic light self-assessment method had a positive impact on learning and teaching within the classroom. At the beginning of the enquiry, some pupils were saying that they were ‘green’ without properly assessing their work against the success criteria, especially the younger pupils. However, as the pupils progressed throughout the enquiry, they became more accurate and honest when assessing their own work. This gave the pupil and the teacher a more accurate reflection of the pupil’s understanding of the work and of their progression. Pupils became more engaged as they liked being able to track their progress and see what they had achieved during the lesson and what they had achieved over the 4-week period. Pupils became more confident assessing their work and developed their skills of using target setting to help them achieve. The group did not find that there was a very noticeable improvement in pupil progression throughout this enquiry, but believe that over a longer period of time, improvement in pupil progression would be more evident.
It was found that the majority of pupils involved in the enquiry enjoyed using the traffic light method and thought that it had a positive impact on their learning.
Teachers also found the method to be beneficial as it helped them to track pupil progression more easily and it helped them to target support more effectively to those who required it. It also helped inform the next steps in teaching. The teacher was able to gauge understanding more accurately within the classroom and could decide whether to recap previous lessors or move on to the next part.
In conclusion to this enquiry, it was agreed as a group the use of traffic lights as a form of self-assessment to inform next steps in learning and teaching has been beneficial for both teacher and pupils. The enquiry has allowed valuable assessment of teaching methods in practice in both the primary and secondary teaching environment. The enquiry clearly made it evident that the pupils were motivated to take control of their learning, encouraging them to reflect on their learning intention and success criteria and thus improve their performance.
It was agreed that the research indicates assessment in the classroom opens challenges and requires the need for teachers to question themselves and continually think about the purpose of assessment to aid effective learning. The enquiry was beneficial in finding an effective method to encourage and support pupils empowering and demonstrating that learning is progressive and that grades can be improved.
As a group it was established that it was an effective method and a form of self-assessment that would continue to be incorporated into future practice. Consideration of this method will be pursued, so that pupils feel encouraged to contribute and set targets for their own learning and understand the learning objectives so that they progress to their full potential. By using the formative assessment principles of self-assessment and providing feedback, the pupils’ progression will be assessed and supported through motivation and achievement, thus enhancing their learning.