'But now I feel I want to give it a try': formative assessment, self-esteem and a sense of competence

David Miller, Fiona Lavin

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    22 Citations (Scopus)


    It is accepted that formative assessment can lead to gains in attainment. Although claims have also been made that these techniques bring benefits in terms of self-esteem and motivation, the evidence here is limited. This article reports an exploratory study which focused on formative assessment techniques and primary children's views of themselves as individuals and learners; 370 upper-primary school children (aged 10-12 years) and sixteen teachers participated in the study. The teachers employed a range of formative assessment techniques in the course of their day-to-day teaching. Employing triangulation of data and methodology, information was gathered via standardized questionnaires, individual interviews and group discussions. There was a degree of consistency in the findings from different sources, indicating improvements in children's self-perceptions in several areas. Gains were seen in self-esteem and in beliefs about competence. Differences were found in relation to gender, ability groups and in those who lacked confidence in their ability. The data suggest that the benefits in terms of self-perception may not be seen in the short term, but are more likely to be evidenced after a longer period of employing formative assessment. Information from small-group discussions with children and interviews conducted with class teachers provided further insights as to the processes at work.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3-25
    Number of pages23
    JournalCurriculum Journal
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2007


    • Formative assessment
    • Self-esteem
    • Primary school pupils
    • Primary teaching
    • Self-competence


    Dive into the research topics of ''But now I feel I want to give it a try': formative assessment, self-esteem and a sense of competence'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this