Involving Students in the Assessment Process


Image: Self-assessment. Adapted from “Student” by CollegeDegrees360. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC-BY-SA 2.0).

Self-assessment provides students with an opportunity to self-evaluate, or make judgments about their learning process and products of learning, based on criteria that they have agreed on with their instructor.

Why are self-assessments a useful tool?

  1. Help students judge their own abilities and performance, and become self-regulated learners
  2. Self-assessment skills will help them in their professional careers after they graduate, by teaching them to regulate their own performance

How can instructors support students in self-assessment?

As they learn, most students are already informally evaluating their own work and giving themselves feedback. For example, by proof-reading an assignment before handing it in, and making changes to improve it, students are assessing their work. Despite its importance in the learning process, self-assessment is not a skill that is explicitly taught in the classroom. However, by building self-assessment components more intentionally into the classroom, instructors can encourage and empower students to assess themselves more effectively.

Setting goals

Helping to set and clarify effective goals, against which students can assess their performance

Providing examples

Providing examples of good performance, or setting the standard against which students will assess themselves

Providing criteria

Providing specific criteria to help students generate internal feedback

Giving opportunities

Providing multiple opportunities for students to assess themselves, and to thereby help them close the gap between their current performance and the desired performance

Self-assessment can play a dual role for the student, to both assess the end product, or outcomes, of their learning (ex. their knowledge of the course content, a final project, essay, etc.), and also the process of learning (ex. their approach, strategies, strengths and areas for improvement, etc.)


How can you encourage students to assess the process not just the product of their learning?