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Self-assessment

Children seem to find peer assessment easier- their first instinct is to respond at much greater length to someone else’s work than to their own. This is, perhaps, quite a natural feeling.

However, children need to be taught that self-assessment is one of the most important forms of assessment around. Ultimately, in education, children are on their own. Tests and exams do not seek to assess partner work, interaction with the teacher or peer assessment. Nor should they. These things are teaching strategies, not ends in their own right.

We use a number of effective approaches to self-assessment. Beyond the earliest stages, these do not - and must not - include smiley/sad faces.
This strategy is quite meaningless and the notion of using a ‘sad’ face to reflect the fact you cannot do something is completely contrary to attitudes successful learners need.

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Teachers are very uncertain about the value of self assessment and how to go about using it effectively … There is a need to recognise the necessity for training pupils to evaluate their work. Pupils with these skills so that they are more able to persevere with tasks, achieve better standards of work and raise their self-esteem.

Classroom Assessment, Suffolk Advisory Service, 2000

Two further weaknesses are evident in schools where formative assessment is judged to be weak. First, pupils are not sufficiently involved in assessment of their own performance. As a consequence, they are unaware of their areas of strength and weakness and do not know what they need to do to improve and how they could go about this. A number of successful schools have addressed this problem by developing techniques for self-assessment and peer-assessment, thus enabling pupils to develop a better appreciation of the standards required and what they need to do to improve their performance.

Mathematics in primary schools, HMI, 2005

There is nothing special about the techniques we can use for involving learners in reviewing in the classroom. What is special is the belief that this process actually helps learning.

Assessment for learning, Sutton, 1995