Tips on Teaching

Promoting student self-assessment in the classroom

writingby Dipti Subramanium, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Reinert Center

The idea of student self-assessment is not something that we always think to incorporate into our teaching practices. However, being intentional about involving students in their own learning process is an integral part of a learning cycle as well as effective teaching.

Why involve students? Integrating student self-assessment has numerous benefits. For students, self-assessment grants them the opportunity to identify areas of strengths and weaknesses on the concepts and materials taught in the classroom. In addition, this process inevitably allows students to become active participants in their respective learning and furthermore, this approach promotes accountability. Ultimately, it serves as a guide in helping them in prepare for the next exam or assignment, and how to best do so.

Why is it important for the instructor? First, think of this as a good teaching strategy to encourage students to take responsibility of their own learning. Second, results from student self-assessment give you data. This is valuable information about some of the feasible steps that you can implement to enhance their learning. It serves as insight into some of your own teaching practices that can be altered or enhanced in preparation for subsequent semesters.

How do we implement self-assessment? Surveys are one of the most valuable tools to use when obtaining student feedback. You can develop your survey tool using Qualtrics® or SurveyMonkey® platforms. Try to frame your survey to include both open ended and close ended questions. The questions can include items about the resources used (e.g. textbook, recorded lectures, office hours, etc.), time spent on preparation,  identifying areas where they have learned concepts, lost points on exams or unclear concepts, and finally, identifying some of the steps the students intends to take in preparing for the next exam.