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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: Kathleen Johnson

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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Source: Digital Access Key Image; Morgue File;

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Hello, ladies and gentlemen. I hope you're having a wonderful day today. Today, we're going to be looking at how to help students learn to self-assess and track their own progress. And for today's lesson, I've chosen a quote by Nelson Mandela, which states, "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." I absolutely love that quote.

Now, by the time we're done with the lesson today, you are going to be able to review why student self-assessment is so important. You'll also be able to review some self-assessment strategies as you work through implementing that into your own class.

So, first and foremost, why is student self-assessment such an important process? Well, we do know that student self-assessment really helps to promote the concept of thinking around learning. So what we're doing is we're asking students to think about the learning that's taking place, not just what it is that they're learning, as well as what are their learning goals as they are working through that learning. So constantly keeping in mind what they're getting right now and where it's going to take them.

Also, self-assessment really helps to encourage some of that self-motivated improvement. So it encourages students to really think about what it is that they're doing right in this moment and how they could be able to improve that as they continue. Self-assessment also really helps to give students a voice within that learning process. So, oftentimes, components of self-assessment don't just include ways in which they can improve what they're doing, but also they can reflect on the successfulness of a particular lesson. And that can help give them a voice in determining how you're going to move forward and what all you can do with your future lessons.

Also, self-assessment really helps students track their progress so that they're really able to see kind of where they are within the lesson, as well as what they need to do in terms of their learning so that they can reach their learning goals. Finally, one of the huge benefits of self-assessment is in the data. Now, we know that there's evidence that when teachers are tracking that student progress, that there tend to be major gains in student achievement. But those gains get even greater when we look at students tracking their own progress.

Now let's go ahead and take a look at some of those strategies that we can use in our classrooms to help improve student self-assessment. The first strategy is really encouraging students to set those learning goals. So what we're doing here is we're asking students to really set those learning goals. And in turn, students tend to find that really empowering, to see their own learning goals.

Within this, you want to help teach students about creating what are called SMART goals. So those are goals that are specific, that are measurable, that are achievable, relevant to what we're doing, and time-bound so that they're not this long, far-off dream of a goal, but ones that are really concrete that students can start achieving immediately.

The second major strategy is really teaching about time management. So once students have set their own goals, you're going to want to make sure that they have the skills that they're going to need in terms of time management to really help make sure that those goals are achieved. Students, when working within time management, are really taught to not only organize everything that they're doing throughout the school day, but also to organize their time and make sure that they are prioritizing those goals as well as the assignments that they need to complete for their classes.

So, often, it's helpful to help students really identify what some of those benchmarks are going to be throughout the course of a particular class or throughout the course of a year and make sure that they're establishing benchmarks that they can attain as they work towards that goal. Allowing students to be the ones that are managing their time as opposed to you managing their time can really be a powerful way to teach them some of those time management skills, because they're going to experience the immediate consequences of either good time management or poor time management.

The next major strategy that you can use to improve student self-assessment is through interviews and conferences so what we're doing here is really just checking in with students on their progress towards meeting some of those goals. These can take place in one-on-one interviews or conferences that include multiple teachers or multiple students. And what this does is really help to improve that student's sort of self awareness as to where they are within their progress towards meeting those goals, what are the choices that they're making, and then what are some of the outcomes of those choices, helping to guide the student as they think through it.

This also really helps to improve their communication skills, because they are sitting down and having to voice what it is that they're doing and ways in which they can improve it. These conferences can be led by the teacher, but they could also be led by the student. Or they can be within a group of students so that it really can be flexible based on the elements within each individual classroom.

Another strategy to help improve self-assessment is through the use of rubrics. Rubrics can be really helpful when you want to get more detailed with the self-assessment and reflection. So, for example, if a student is struggling to identify their own strengths and weaknesses, using a rubric as sort of that framework for what they're doing can really be helpful to give them that detailed feedback on where their areas of strength are, as well as their areas of weakness.

They also help give students the language that they need to kind of describe those different levels of performance and then tracking how they are working through those different levels. Finally, a good strategy is using a graphic organizer. Some students really want to see their progress expressed in a visual way. And so graphic organizers can be a really effective tool to kind of diagram the connections between various goals or even ideas in terms within the lesson.

They also can be used to help kind of understand the content itself. So students can use a graphic organizer as a way to reflect on their own learning or their progress as they can show kind of the connections between different areas and different goals that they're aiming to master.

Now that we've reached the end of the lesson, you have been able to review why student self-assessment is so important in our classrooms. You've also been able to review some self-assessment strategies that really help to implement these positives in your classroom.

Now I want you to take a moment and reflect on some of the different strategies that we discussed for self-assessment. What do you think would be the first strategy you would try to implement in your classroom? To dive a little deeper and learn how to apply the rest of this information, be sure to check out the Additional Resources section associated with this video. This is where you're going to find links that are targeted toward helping you discover more ways to apply this course material.

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

(00:00-00:22) Intro

(00:23-00:38) Objectives

(00:39-02:21) Why Student Self-Assessment Is So Important

(02:22-06:34) Strategies for Student Self-Assessment

(06:35-07:20) Review & Reflection

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.