Types of self-assessments and how to train your students to self assess

Self-evaluation can be an effective means of gauging performance and can have a positive effect on student outcomes. However, for students to evaluate their own work accurately and benefit from the process, teachers must first instruct them how to do so. Teachers might want to start by having the students complete short self-evaluations on small assignments (e.g., daily homework). In general, for student self-assessment to be effective, teachers should:

  1. Allow students to participate in developing the criteria that will be used to evaluate their work.
  2. Demonstrate how to apply the criteria by providing examples and modeling.
  3. Offer feedback on their self-assessments and discuss any differences of opinion. Feedback can be provided by the teacher or a classmate.
  4. Using the self-evaluation data, help students develop appropriate learning goals.

Teachers can provide students with rubrics and checklists with which to self evaluate their work. Teachers also might want to use strategies such as those highlighted in the table below.

Strategy Suggestions
Surveys
  • Use a Likert scale.
  • Use text (e.g., disagree, unsure, agree) or symbols, depending on the students’ reading level.
Self-reflection prompts
  • Provide fill-in-blank statements or a list of questions (e.g., Can I explain this concept to someone else?).
Journals
  • Provide sample prompts (e.g., I learned…, I’m having difficulty understanding…).
Interactive notebooks
  • Allow students to write about what they have learned, including a personal reflection, and then respond.
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