is a helpful addition to a teacher's assessment resources for many reasons. Self-assessment allows the teacher to see a student's comfort level with a particular topic, feedback on an activity, or self-view of class or small group contributions. Self-assessment can also serve as a metacognitive reflective strategy for students, letting them monitor their own learning and make adjustments as they see fit. In a conference setting, the teacher can use student's self-evaluations to start a conversation on participation, comprehension, or learning styles, and teachers can use students' self-assessments to show a student's engagement in a particular aspect of the classroom, lesson, or subject.
The following websites are useful in understanding more fully what elementary self-assessment is and the many forms it might take in a classroom.
- The Self-Assessment Pathfinder gives a sturdy overview of elementary self-assessment along with many online resources that contain ideas for self-assessment especially in Language Arts. The bottom section answers some FAQ about self-assessment. Of interest to me here was that some states include self-assessment in the elementary curriculum. This makes sense since self-assessment fosters metacognitive and critical thinking skills and encourages students to see their work as others might.
- This Canadian website gives some assessment ideas for the Science classroom that can be easily applied to any subject. One self-assessment strategy that stuck out to me here (good for younger grades, but it would fit fourth and fifth as well) was a series of smiley faces that refer to various elements of a day's task (cooperation in groups, focus, thoroughness, etc.). Students are asked to rate themselves in these areas using a smile, a neutral face, or a frown. This basic self-assessment might be an effective first exposure for students to self-assessment. The website has group and performance assessment ideas as well, along with a technique for noting observations on students during the week.
- This website stresses students as active participants in their own learning. It offers a brief discussion of reflection as a self-assessment strategy and gives sample questions that might prompt students to reflect deeply on their learning. Admittedly, journaling at the end of each subject can be time-consuming, but, with practice and routine, it can become a valuable part of a student's education. The list of reflection questions the website offers might be worth printing out and keeping close-by in the classroom.
- This website gives a sample of a stoplight self-assessment used in a Math class. Students color in the green, yellow, or red light depending on their comfort level with a particular topic. As with most of the self-assessment strategies seen in these websites, the stoplight method is applicable to any content area. It would be especially effective, I believe, as an activator of prior knowledge at the beginning of a unit and also as a unit-closer to show students how much more they have come to understand during the unit.
- This document gives a sample checklist that asks students to monitor their focus before, during, and after reading. This checklist could be made into a laminated pocket card that students keep in their reading cubbies and retrieve during reading time. They could use a dry-erase marker to check off the steps as they complete them to make sure that they are doing the most active reading possible. Afterwards, students would simply need to wipe the pocket checklist with a tissue to make it ready for the next reading time. Alternatively, several checklists could be created to be introduced during the year as new reading skills or topics are introduced. For instance, students would use a simple checklist at the beginning of the year but increasingly involved checklists as they become more avid and skillful readers.
- I created this self-revising checklist for my students to use during our Wednesday revision sessions. Since the beginning of our implementation of the simple six, the students have worked together in partner revision using the praise-question-polish (PQP) model. This checklist was a later addition that allowed students to self-revise after they had also worked with a partner. The checklist, which is added to every week as new skills and focuses are added to writing lessons, works well in tandem with partner revision and student-teacher conferencing. Students check off what they have done successfully in their writing and circle writing traits that they have not met. They then revise their writing using their partner's PQP comments as well as the items they noted as missing on their checklist. When they finish revising, and before teacher conferencing, students return to the checklist to make sure that they have met all the criteria of effective writing.