Why Is Student Self-Assessment Important?

Now that so much assessment is situated in daily classroom life, there are numerous opportunities to engage students in the assessment process. They can compare their work over time, create evaluation criteria for a project, discuss their strategies for reading difficult texts, work with peers to evaluate and revise a piece of writing, and judge their reading preferences and habits by reviewing their reading journals. When students are collaborators in assessment, they develop the habit of self-reflection. They learn the qualities of good work, how to judge their work against these qualities, how to step back from their work to assess their own efforts and feelings of accomplishment, and how to set personal goals (Reif, 1990; Wolf, 1989). These are qualities of self-directed learners, not passive learners. As teachers model, guide, and provide practice in self-assessment, students learn that assessment is not something apart from learning or something done to them, but a collaboration between teachers and students, and an integral part of how they learn and improve.

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