Generally, education has always focused on some form of external assessor watching the progress of a student. This is by far the standard approach. However, it is not the only way.
An alternative form of assessment is self-assessment. In this approach, the student judges their progress themselves rather than leaning on the judgment of a teacher. In this post, we will look at the pros and cons of self-assessment as well as several ways to incorporate self-assessment into the classroom
Pros and Cons
Some of the advantages of this include the following.
- Autonomy-The student must be able to ascertain what they are doing well and also wrong
- Critical thinking skills-This relates to the first bullet. The student must form an opinion about their progress
- Motivation-Students often are energized by the responsibility of making decisions themselves.
There are also some drawbacks such as the subjectivity of such a form of assessment. However, developing the cognitive skills of self-assessment provide a reasonable tradeoff in many situations.
Types of Self-Assessment
Self-assessment can take one of the following forms
- Goal setting assessment
- Assessment of performance
- General assessment
- Student-generated test
Goal setting is the student deciding for themselves what they want to do or achieve in an academic context. The student lays down the criteria and attempts to achieve it. This is an excellent way to boost motivation as many students love to dream even if it is limited to academics.
Assessment of Performance
Performance assessment is the student judging how they did on a specific task. Examples may include assessing their performance of a speech, or essay. Often this is best done with some sort of learning experience that is open ended like the previous examples. IN other words, performance assessment might be meaningless for a multiple-choice quiz since they answer is fixed.
General assessment is assessing one’s performance over time rather than at one specific moment. The student might judge their performance over an entire unit or semester and share their thoughts. This is much more vague in nature but if the student walks away with understanding how to improve it can be beneficial.
Having students generate test items strongly encourages review of course content. The student has to identify what they know and do not know as well as the level of understanding of their peers. This complex metacognitive process always for stronger insights into the content.
As the teacher, it is necessary to consider the following
- Clearly, define what needs to be done. This is often best done through giving an example through demonstration of self-reflection.
- Consider the format. THe teacher can provide a checklist, surveys, or require students to write a self-assessment. The format depends on the goals as well as the abilities of the students.
- Challenge the student’s assessment. Students will often be too harsh or easy on themselves. Having the students explain their position will deepen their critical thinking skills and encourage impartial assessments.
Self-assessment is another potential tool in the classroom. This form of assessment allows students to think and decide where they believe they are in their learning experience. As such, occasional use of this approach is probably beneficial for most students.