Self-Assessment and Peer Assessment
Assessment is the fourth stage of the lifelong teacher training cycle. It is an essential stage that gives feedback to the student and the teacher on the progress of learning. Group work and constructive learning takes place when students develop a better understanding of their own subjectivity and judgement. Self-Assessment and peer assessments are used to keep a tack on student’s performance. Establishing their own assessment criteria increases student responsibility, thereby helping them to strive for a deeper approach towards learning, understanding the subject matter and various skills involved in the process.
Self-assessment is an assessment tool used by students to evaluate the quality of their work, measure their performance with the stated goals and learning objectives, identify the strengths and weaknesses in their work and implement revision accordingly. Self-assessment practices encourages students to take ownership of their learning, promotes responsibility, independence, and may also motivate further learning. It is a form of cultural shift which focuses on the quality of learning, student responsibility and making judgements as a necessary skill to prepare students for problem solving and lifelong learning.
Increasing student participation is the basics of self-assessments. Through self-assessments students can identify their own skill gaps, where they lack in knowledge, develop realistic goals and focus attention in learning. Some useful examples of self-assessment are:
I can statements: this is a useful practice carried out by teachers at the end of either every class or by the time a specific unit comes to an end. Students list down various I can statements to explain what they are capable of doing as a result of the lesson taught to them by their instructor.
Other examples are portfolio reviews, reflections and recording oneself.
Self-assessment can address specific skills in students, it helps teachers to evaluate on the potential of all students towards learning. Some advantages of self-assessment may be;
Personal growth: it is a result of the activities and areas of your life, whether personal relationships or communication skills. It arises from the need to evaluate yourself and identify your positive and negative areas.
Exposure: self-assessment helps students to identify their areas of self-improvement. This process of exposing your strengths and weaknesses isn’t easy, it moves you towards self-development.
Self-awareness: you take more active part in shaping your personality, objective look towards how you behave and react at situations.
At one point self-assessment proves to be very beneficial for students and teachers but it might address some negativity too;
Subjectivity: it takes a very subjective look at your personality, they things you do, life experiences, etc. a subjective rating isn’t enough to assess someone or a personality type.
No accountability: the assessment begins with you and ends at your evaluation. It doesn’t shape a path to change oneself, but in a few cases externalities might influence you to stay determined towards the change.
Students use peer assessment to provide feedback to other students in relation to the quality of their work. This assessment technique may require assigning a grade based on a criteria of excellence. Peer assessment encourages collaborative learning hence interchanging ideas which constitutes good work. Students help each other understand various concepts, identify each other’s mistakes and provide necessary help in resolving the matter. The conversation process is enhanced and students gain a sophisticated grasp of the learning objectives. Peer assessment is important to develop intellectual skills in students, where they get to make choices, lessen the power imbalance between teachers and students and increase student’s role in the learning process. The sense of autonomy in this assessment tool is utilized to formulate a better thinking process among students.
Peer assessments is a collective effort of students who are ranked with similar characteristics. Feedback is a vital component of peer assessment, students often reflect their own efforts, extend and evaluate efforts of their peers as well.
Plenary buddies: this is a popular peer assessment technique used by teachers to group students and carry out plenary at the end of a lesson. Students are given some time to prepare for it and later if they feel confident enough they can discuss it with the class and check it against the success criteria too.
Peer assessments are good to boost confidence of students and encourage healthy discussions. Some advantages of carrying forward this assessment tool are;
It encourages involvement of all students towards taking ownership of learning, it also develops students’ skillset. Students tend to learn a lot from their peers, and what encourages lifelong learning is their judgement skills towards situations. Moreover, in a leaning environment students are always treated as majority and so feedback generating capacity for students is much greater than teachers’.
Prior to the assessment practice students perform better every time, so it develops reinforcement and creates a better chance to learn from each other. This in turn reduces teachers’ responsibility towards marking of regular tests in class.
Where peer assessments engage students towards maintaining their productive capacity it may also hinder the reliability of the practice with strong friendships in classrooms. Much of the activities in pairs are carried out between students of the same class, particularly friends who know each other quite well to support their flaws. Such conditions create gaps in the reliability of assessments. Students may also award everyone at one level, or may gang up against one person. Therefore, it is necessary for teachers to look after he assessment conditions, grading criteria or grouping in the class.
Training helps cover these differences effectively.
Self and peer assessments provides students with an overview of factors to be considered by teachers when marking work, therefore they may understand the academic requirements in a better manner. Teachers can benefit from students’ greater involvement through such assessments which helps them grow and learn better. For example, by engaging in assessments and reflection of their own work and the work of their peers students learn from their mistakes and target their learning in a much organized manner. It is just another way to engage your audience in a combined learning effort to actively alter the perception of classroom environment.
Similarly, students can be given a task to self-assess their class participation in an academic year. This may be backed by a grade reward or percentage reward for the final year’s performance. This practice can help deepen the understanding of students. Moreover, to change the environment a bit, teachers can also ask students to check assignments, cross-check class tests or lecture notes of their peers. This can be made as a discussion based activity to analyze faults, gaps and differences in understanding of other students. A collaborative mindset is worked out to better understand and improve performance of students.
Group activities which involves feedback collects responses or drafts of all students and team members are divided of which one may point out errors in the work of others, and one may be the spokesperson in the classroom activity. Students take turns in providing oral feedback on their peer’s drafts.
Self and peer assessments have proven to provide better academic results. Many teachers encourage such activities and involve students in collaborative learning to effectively manage classroom content and management. However, parts of these assessments follow self-analysis, identification of strengths and weaknesses with proper remedial action by teachers to help students at all levels. It is helpful to introduce assessment practices as a part of the curriculum in the introductory classes to prepare students before applying a new strategy.