Self-assessment is a way of encouraging children to evaluate and assess their learning. It’s similar to peer assessment, but pupils give feedback to a partner instead of giving feedback to themselves. The advantage of teaching children how to self-assess their work is that they have to think about what they’ve done well and what they could do better next time.
It’s extremely important for children because it allows them to reflect on their work to improve and develop it further. Self-assessment encourages pupils to reflect and look at where they went wrong to help them improve for the future. Not only that, it’s a fantastic way to encourage children to strengthen their efforts and empower them to take control of their learning.
What are the benefits of self-assessment?
Using a self-assessment as an additional form of assessment for learning is a great way to promote reflection and responsibility for learning. Getting it right and self-assessment can help young people to develop into independent learners.
So what are the benefits of a self-assessment for learners? Here are six advantages of using self-assessment in your classroom:
1. Check Understanding: There’s a difference between acquiring knowledge and truly understanding something. Getting pupils to assess their response to something gives an insight into their comprehension. In other words, it can show you what they know instead of what they think they know. You can then use these gaps to help pupils to make better progress.
2. Promote Independence: Help your young learners to become more by getting them to identify how they could improve a response to something. No matter what level, subject, or topic, encourage pupils to identify improvements while recognizing what they’ve done well.
3. Consolidate Learning: Get pupils to evaluate a previous response to something in the light of new information. This can help remove misconceptions and demonstrate new learning.
4. Develop Evaluative Skills: Encourage pupils to decide what makes something good or bad. Let them determine the success criteria for a particular piece of work. This is a higher-order thinking skill that will help them make evaluative judgments.
5. Increase Engagement: By giving pupils ownership of their learning, you’re allowing them to become more engaged with their learning process.
6. Deeper Understanding: By actively engaging with what’s good or bad about a particular response, pupils will have to think much deeper about the criteria used to assess them for that task. Doing so can help them understand how to progress in a specific area.
What are the disadvantages of self-assessment in education?
When implementing self-assessment tasks in the classroom, look out for learners who are overly lenient or overly harsh on themselves. Those extremely forgiving may not understand the marking criteria, which means they might not understand what’s being asked of them. This can have broader implications for their learning, so it’s important to catch this and rectify it. For example, you could discuss what they’re being asked to do and adjust your teaching delivery to help them better understand.
Perhaps a more prominent disadvantage of self-assessment in education is children being overly harsh on themselves. This can similarly stem from a misunderstanding of the task and what they’re being asked to do, but it can also affect a child’s confidence and self-belief. It often comes from low self-esteem, which can hurt their future studies.
Don’t let these disadvantages of self-assessment in education dissuade you from implementing it in your classroom! On the contrary, self-assessment tasks are brilliant opportunities to identify children who have misunderstood the task or are struggling with low self-esteem. Once you’ve identified them, you can begin addressing the issues. In this way, these ‘disadvantages’ become more reasons to bring self-assessment to your classroom.
Still, wondering how self-assessment can be effective?
Here are ten examples of how self-assessment can make a real difference in progress in learning:
1. It helps pupils to reflect and self-correct.
2. It enables immediate feedback so that pupils can start improving straight away.
3. Self-assessment allows pupils to develop higher-order evaluative skills.
4. Pupils have to remember honestly, so it also builds integrity.
5. Self-assessment in itself provides another learning opportunity.
6. As pupils need to know the success criteria well, it offers potentially deeper learning.
7. It can help pupils keep track of their progress.
8. Formative self-assessment takes attention away from levels and grades.
9. It promotes autonomous learning.
10. For teachers, self-assessment can reduce marking time!

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