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Self-Assessment in the Classroom

Self-assessment is a very effective tool for the classroom to enable learners to develop and progress with a deeper understanding about their own learning.

It is a tool for the teacher that encourages young people, and indeed ourselves, to reflect upon skills, abilities and attainment.

So what is self-assessment exactly? Well, the dictionary definition terms it as an “evaluation of oneself or one’s actions, attitudes or performance”. Following on from this, the purpose of self-assessment is to help an individual know the extent of their abilities and to improve upon them.

This is exactly the kind of method that we can incorporate into our students’ learning to help them gain the skills to identify their style of learning, their strengths and weaknesses and how they can move forward.

What could this look like in the classroom?

In a typical English lesson, we ask our students to read texts and test them on their comprehension of the texts. Following on from this, we try and develop our students’ deeper understanding through various tasks and exercises. At the end of a lesson we could ask students to self-assess their level of understanding in a variety of ways.

We could simply ask for a thumb gesture from the class; thumbs up if they felt they had a full understanding of the lesson, thumbs to the side if for some of the lesson they felt unsure, and thumbs down if they felt lost and bewildered throughout the lesson.

This then provides you as a teacher with immediate feedback on how the lesson went and how much progress your students made. It allows you to develop your planning as to whether you need to re-visit the topic or move forwards.

Another style of self-assessment could be following a task where you have given a list of success criteria; what they need to have included in their answers. For example in a maths lesson, success criteria could include:

They could stick this sheet in their books next to their workings out and you could see what they have achieved and where they may need improvement.

The style of the self-assessment sheet may differ according to subject and according to outcome and your preferences.

Self-assessment is a key idea when it comes to independent learning; we are equipping our students to be successful in life and this style of reflection is useful in many situations.

Do you already use self-assessment in your classroom? Is there a task where you could incorporate it and make it regular practice?

Try out our Independent Learning course where you will find many more ideas on how to encourage your students towards becoming independent learners.

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