Self-Assessment – Oh the Horror!

Self-Assessment … it’s a (long) process.

We all know the importance of Assessment AS learning ….

This is when students (and adults, for that matter) reflect, and self-assess their learning that real long-term learning and growth can occur.

When the students in my Health and Career Education classes completed their end of the term self-assessment this past week, most were engaged and interested in the process. They took this assessment opportunity very seriously put effort into their responses.  A few students, however, found this self-assessment difficult.  One Grade 6 student wrote,

“I don’t like grading myself. I feel more comfortable being graded by someone else, like you, Mrs. Henriksen. You would be better at grading me because you have more experience with grading.”

Part of my response to this students was that no one really knew her learning this term better than she did.

Another student got upset about completing the self-assessment and refused to conference with me about his learning this term (even though I made it very non-threatening and open-ended). Initially, he wrote,

“I think I deserve an F!”

I let him know that that was not going to happen and that he did NOT, in fact, deserve an F. He’d done a lot of learning this term. That didn’t seem to make a difference in his thoughts though.  I will try to conference with him again this week sometime.

I find it disturbing that grades are done TO our students and not WITH our students.  It’s sad that some students feel so uncomfortable about reflecting upon their own learning and sharing this information with others.

This has, of course, left me with more questions than answers.

Why do some students have such difficulty reflecting on their learning? Why is it so foreign to them?

What do I do to make this a more comfortable process?  (Not doing the self-assessment is not an option.)

How long does it take for people to become more comfortable with self-assessment?

How much self-assessment are these students involved with in their other subjects?

Will the final term be any easier for them to self-assess their learning?


Published by Tia M. Dawson

There are many things that define who I am as a person. First of all, I am a mother of 3 wonderful children! I can not express how fortunate we are to have our children in our life! Secondly, I am an elementary educator who recently returned to the classroom after 12+ years as an elementary school administrator. Lastly, I am passionate about helping others, learning about abuse, helping others in abusive relationships, and helping others understand their worth.

2 thoughts on “Self-Assessment – Oh the Horror!

  1. Tia,
    This is a great post on self-assessment. I know you are further along in the moratorium on grading than I am, but I do work on having my students more involved in the grading process. I love what you said: “I find it disturbing that grades are done TO our students and not WITH our students.” So true! I believe it will change everything about student attitudes toward learning when we can get beyond grades. I long for the day when I will no longer hear: “Is this what you want?”

    Thanks for a reflective post,
    P.S. I miss your photos lately!

    1. Hi Denise,

      Yes, we do need to get beyond “Is this what you want?” or, “Is this for marks?” I strongly believe that grades do hold students back. A great example of this is Genius Hour – look at the effort and enthusiasm the students put into these projects! It’s great! Inspiring! They are motivated by their interests. Isn’t this what we want? We want our students to love learning and be enthusiastic about learning, each and every day. It shouldn’t be “special” when they are – it should be common.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.


      PS I’ve still been taking photos, just haven’t download them and uploaded them lately. Need. to. do. this. It is on my list, but I just haven’t got there yet. I will. Soon. Thanks for thinking of me though.

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