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Principals Diary

Impress your management with the task list in principals diary. An Exclusive Diary especially designed for Principals / Directors / Head of Schools / Coordinators / HOD's

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January 2010
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  1. Volume 3 Month 1 Day 12- Student Self-Assessment


    Self-Assessment is the most overlooked, yet possibly most valuable aspect of assessment for students at all levels and in all fields. Self-assessment encourages students to reflect on their learning and results in their consciously improving how they learn. Because self-assessment is new for most students, instructors can implement strategies to support the development of students’ abilities to assess their own work.

    Student Self-Assessment: Making Standards Come Alive

    Incorporating a standards-based approach to teaching and learning can be a creative and enriching endeavour. Students should be asked to assess themselves.

    In general, Student Self Assessment (SSA) refers to training students to evaluate their own work for the purpose of improving it (Rolheiser & Ross, 2000). To become capable evaluators of their work, students must have a clear targets and they must recognize the standards of learning.

    Clear Targets

    Clear goals for learning are required to ensure quality education for all students (Marzano, Pickering, & McTighe, 1993). Neither teachers nor students can succeed without a clear vision of what students must know and be able to do, or without the ability to translate that vision into actions that result in high quality work (Stiggins, 1997).

    Involving Students in Defining the Criteria of Assessment

    To meet standards, students must understand the meaning of standards and be able to translate them into guidelines they can use. The process of leading students to express a standard in their own words in terms of observable criteria can produce goals for student work that are specific, understandable, and appropriately challenging (Rolheiser & Ross, 2000).

    Teachers can invite students to contribute to the choice of assessment tasks, the rubric that describes levels of proficiency, or the scoring procedure. Allowing students to work cooperatively with teachers in these areas appears to help students internalize the standard and feel more ownership of the assessment (Cole, Coffey, & Goldman, 1999; Ross, Rolheiser, & Hogaboam-Gray, 2000; Stiggins, 1997).


    The next steps in SSA include asking students to apply the criteria to their work and get feedback about their success. Feedback has been defined as “describing” what you did and did not do in terms of your goal” (Wiggins, 1997). Feedback that is informational and useful in nature has been considered to be both critical to learning and highly motivating (Jensen, 1998; Wiggins, 1997).

    Effective feedback can come from many sources, not just from comments spoken or written by the teacher. Teacher can enlist students to evaluate the work of their peers. Peer evaluating can help them to improve the quality of their own work. Students can recognize their own mistakes when they saw similar errors in a peer’s work.


    Feedback from any source, however, is futile if it does not lead to opportunities for students to self-correct. Self-correction, the next step in the process of SSA, is the true goal of student self-assessment (Wiggins, 1997). The constructivist concept of learning as a “work in progress” acknowledges that excellence in almost any endeavour requires the iterative processes of refinement and improvement (Darling-Hammond, Ancess, & Falk, 1995; Frederiksen & Collins, 1989; Glasser, 1998). Teachers who encourage students to learn from their mistakes show faith in students’ capabilities and promote students’ personal control in the learning context. This approach increases the likelihood that students will achieve competence in the subject matter (Valencia, 1990; Wlodkowski, 1999). In these ways, opportunities for self-correcting provide a necessary and effective step in students’ eventual accomplishment of standards.

    Teachers should help the students in the process of self-correction by providing them a rubric to consult. Students want to make the choice about their level of performance and they can associate this choice by having a rubric they understand. Understanding a rubric can help students to bring improvement in their work.

    Reflective Activities

    The final and the most important element of SSA is participating in reflective activities for self assessment. Reflective thinking has historically been promoted as a central part of learning (Bruner, 1986; Dewey, 1933). It involves two ways: post- performance reflections and goal-setting activities. In the first type, students can be asked to think about a completed performance or product, to evaluate its strengths and weaknesses, and to describe their in-process experiences. In the goal-setting activities, students should be guided to evaluate their needs and make specific plans for reaching certain goals, such as preparing for the final exam. This can make students aware of their learning needs and preferences.

    Why is Student Self-Assessment (SSA) Important?

    There are several reasons why students should not only be allowed, but also encouraged to participate in their evaluation and assist a teacher with the students’ assessment.  The bottom line is that it enhances the learning process by having each student identify his/her strengths and weaknesses, define their goals and motivate them to achieve these goals. Teacher need to create a situation where students have to use critical thinking and problem solving skills. Teachers should ask students to assess a situation and their own performance.

    Writing Self Assessment

    Teacher can give students to write a self-assessment report after the completion of the test. Teacher can attach a self-assessment page in the report card to be written by students where students can get chance to assess themselves and to identify their strengths and weaknesses. For e.g. Teacher should ask students to describe 3 strengths (e.g. “I am good in math because I know my time table”) and 3 things they need to improve on (e.g.”My reading is not very good, so I will read for 20 minutes extra each night.).Teachers should made students completion of the self-assessment page on report card mandatory.

    The practice of self-assessment is a central way for students to acquire the reflective habits of mind that are essential to their ongoing capacities to do good work and to progressively improve their work over time. For both teacher and student what is at the centre of the process is thinking in Dewey’s sense: developing the capacity for the self-reflective assessment of one’s activities. This is essential in not only examining and improving the process of teaching and learning, but in understanding the subjects themselves.

    Self-assessment is important for everyone. It is an excellent way for students to grow, improve and become better individuals.



    Bruner, J. (1986). Actual minds, possible worlds. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press

    Cole, K., Coffey, J., & Goldman, S. (1999). Using assessments to improve equity in mathematics. Educational Leadership, 56(6), 56-58

    Darling-Hammond, L., Ancess, J., & Falk, B. (1995). Authentic assessment in action: Studies of schools and students at work. New York: Teachers College Press.

    Dewey, J. (1933). How we think: A restatement of the relation of reflective thinking to educative process. (1971 ed.). Chicago: Regnery.

    Frederiksen, J., & Collins, A. (1989). A systems approach to educational testing. Educational Researcher, 18(9), 27-32.

    Glasser, W. (1998). The quality school teacher (Rev. ed.). New York: Harper Perennial.

    Jensen, E. (1998). Introduction to brain compatible learning. San Diego, CA: The Brain Store.

    Marzano, R., Pickering, D., & McTighe, J. (1993). Assessing student outcomes: Performance assessment using the dimensions of learning model. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

    Rolheiser, C., & Ross, J. A. (2000). Student self-evaluation—What do we know? Orbit, 30(4), 33-36.

    Ross, J. A., Rolheiser, C., & Hogaboam-Gray, A. (2000). Effects of self-evaluation training on narrative writing. Assessing Writing, 6(1), 107-132

    Stiggins, R. (1997). Student-centered classroom assessment (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

    Valencia, S. (1990). A portfolio approach to classroom reading assessment: The why, whats, and hows. The Reading Teacher, 43(4), 338-340

    Wiggins, G. (1997). Feedback: How learning occurs. Paper presented at the America Association of Higher Education Conference on Assessment and Quality, Miami Beach, FL.

     Wlodkowski, R. (1999). Enhancing adult



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