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Helping Students Learn to Self-Assess and Track Their Own Progress

Helping Students Learn to Self-Assess and Track Their Own Progress

Author: Jody Waltman

After completing this lesson, learners will be able to assist their students in assessing the students' own learning and tracking the students' progress towards their instructional goals.

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In this tutorial, you'll learn about the importance of student self-assessment, and you'll learn some strategies that will help your students to improve their self-assessment skills.

Let's begin by talking about the importance of using self-assessment with your students. Student self-assessment fosters an attitude of thinking around the learning. We want students to actually be thinking about their thinking processes. We want them to be aware of the learning goals that they're working towards, and we want them to be aware of how they learn best.

This leads into helping students reflect not only on what they're currently doing well, but also on how they might improve to be even more successful in meeting their learning goals. This process increases student voice in the learning process. It also facilitates self-tracking, as students are not only just tracking their own progress on their learning paths, but they're also really keeping in mind not only where they are, but where they still need to be and what they still need to do in terms of meeting their learning goals.

Here are some strategies that can help improve your student self-assessment skills. First, we want to help our students learn to set their own learning goals. This is a really empowering process for students. So we want to focus on teaching students to set SMART goals. Remember the SMART acronym stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.

We also want to focus on time management skills. Students need to not only set their own goals, but they need to have the time management skills that are necessary to make sure they actually meet those goals. We can teach them the skills that they need to prioritize their goals and organize their time to make sure that they complete all of their individual assignments.

Another part of this process is identifying the smaller benchmarks that students can then check off of their list as they are working towards meeting the larger goals. Having students take ownership of their own time management as they're working towards the learning goals can be a really great way to address these time management skills because students are just going to experience the natural consequences of the choices that they make regarding time management.

Another strategy that you can implement in order to help improve your students' self-assessment skills is the use of interviews and conferences. You can use these conferences and interviews to check in with students as they're progressing on their learning paths. This helps them to be more self-aware as they are reflecting on their progress while they're discussing it with you. And they're also just going to be more aware of the choices that they're making and the consequential outcomes of those choices.

These conferences could be led by the teacher or by the student, or could even be conducted with a group of students who are all working towards the same goal so that all of these students can reap the benefits of each other's insights and experiences.

You might also consider implementing rubrics in order to help your students work on their self-assessment skills. We know that rubrics are a really valuable tool in facilitating detailed reflection and self-assessment. So for example, if a student is having some trouble in identifying their strengths and weaknesses in a given skill area, you may be able to provide a rubric to that student that they could then use as a framework as they are conducting their self-assessment.

One of the key features of rubrics is that they describe varying levels of performance in detail so students can use these rubrics to track any changes that are happening in their performance levels as they, again, progress toward their learning goals.

And one final strategy that you might consider is the use of graphic organizers. Many students find that they are visual learners. They prefer to express ideas in visual ways. So if you have students who have this learning preference, a graphic organizer might be a really great tool for them. This approach of using a diagram or a graphic organizer to demonstrate the connections between the key terms and ideas and facts and other information contained in the new knowledge can help students not only to master the content, but also to reflect on their experiences with that content. They can track their progress in being able to demonstrate and see the links between all of these pieces of information, and this can help them to highlight the connections among the different areas that they want to master in all of their learning goals.

As you're considering which of these strategies you might implement, keep in mind that we've seen research-based evidence not only that teachers tracking student progress result in gains in achievement, but actually that having students track their own progress results in even greater gains in student achievement.

So it's really important to find strategies that are going to be a good fit for your students and that will help them to go through this process of self-assessment, and ultimately, through tracking their own progress, hopefully result in those greater gains in achievement and further progress towards their learning goals.

Here's a chance for you to stop and reflect. Did any of these strategies from the list that we just covered seem like it would be a great fit for you and your students? If so, consider implementing that strategy in the near future in order to help your students develop their self-assessment skills.

To dive a little deeper and learn how to apply this information, be sure to check out the Additional Resources section associated with this video. This is where you'll find links targeted toward helping you discover more ways to apply this course material.

Thanks for joining me today. Have a great day.

Notes on "Helping Students Learn to Self-Assess and Track Their Own Progress"

(00:00 - 00:11) Introduction

(00:12 - 01:07) Importance of Student Self-Assessment

(01:08 - 04:44) Strategies That Improve Self-Assessment

(04:45 - 05:21) Reminder of Gains in Student Achievement

(05:22 - 05:59) Stop and Reflect

Additional Resources

Self-Assessment and Peer Support

This Teaching Channel video illustrates the power of self-assessment in the classroom. It combines the use of student self-assessment with peer revision.

Strategies to enhance student self-assessment 

This site has excellent examples of student self-assessment strategies. In addition, the site provides explanations of how and why to use the strategies, along with necessary resources and templates.