Teachers and parents around the world are realizing how important it is for kids to recognize their own skills and value. It’s one thing to praise kids for their accomplishments, but self-assessment takes the kids a step further. They realize their worth and often begin to work harder because they are an active part of their learning. Self-assessment for students leads to high achievement, but how can we implement it seamlessly in our classrooms? Here are some simple tips you can use with your elementary-aged students.
What is Self-Assessment?
Before diving into tips for self-assessment among students, it’s imperative to understand what it is. Self-assessment takes place when students assess their own performance on a task. They take a look at their work and reflect on what they did well and what they can improve upon. One important component of this is identifying any gaps they have in their understanding. Once they recognize where they need to improve, they can work on the skill on their own or with guidance from their teacher.
As students get older, they will realize how important positive criticism is. This criticism can come from teachers, peers, or themselves. It doesn’t mean they have fallen short; it just means there are always things they can work on, and growth is the key to learning. While teaching your students to self-assess their own work, make sure they know the focus should be on growth!
Examples of Self-Assessment for Students in the Classroom
Still not sure what self-assessment for students may look like? Here are some clear examples that will help guide you as you teach your students to study their own work and grow in their experiences.
Self-assessment may take the form of proofreading a writing piece before turning it in. Many students want to write their piece quickly and be done with it. With patience, they will understand that re-reading it and checking for errors will help them in the long run. Remind your students to read over their work and double or triple-check it before handing it in.
Self-assessment may also look like asking your students to look over their work and find one thing they did well and one thing they can improve upon for next time. You may get students who struggle to find areas of improvement. Remind them that even though their answers might be correct, there are other things they can work on. Maybe they need to work on the organization of their writing or their handwriting. Next time, they might consider adding more descriptive words. There’s always something to improve upon, so help them see what those things might be.
Self-assessment can also include peer reflections and assessments. While it’s not a reflection of oneself, it opens students’ eyes to what others are doing and how they might do things differently next time. After finishing an assignment, have students swap with a partner to share feedback about the work. Remind them to use positive and respectful language to provide feedback.
Model self-assessment for students. Just like any subject, it’s important to model how you want them to perform the task. Before asking them to self-assess for the first time, show them how it should look a few times. Then, when you think they understand, let them try on their own. Come back to the HOW repeatedly to remind them as necessary.
Tips for Self-Assessment for Students
While most students will understand self-assessment and use it to their advantage, some may take it personally. Use these tips to ensure students gain what they need to from assessing their own work and their peers’ work.
- Remind students that constructive feedback is not personal. This feedback is meant to help them grow as a writer, mathematician, reader, etc.
- Treat everyone with respect. Even if the work being assessed is horrible, speak kindly. Remind your students of this as well.
- Ask that your students provide a balance of constructive criticism and compliments. For each piece of feedback, ask that they provide at least one compliment. Give them a positive piece of feedback, followed by something they can work on, and finish with something they did well.
- Give specific examples! If you are too vague, students may not know how to improve and will get confused.
Using these tips and a variety of other resources will help students learn to self-reflect on their work. These strategies for self-assessment for students can be used for math equations, writing pieces, read-alouds and comprehension, and much more. Teach students how to self-assess their work so they can improve and work toward achieving big goals.
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