When I was a student, the closest I ever got to the assessment process was to hand my work to the person behind me and correct the paper of the person in front of me. Luckily education has come a long way since the days of pass-the-paper-back-and-grade-someone-else’s-homework.
In a recent blog post , I discussed six formative assessment techniques to check for student understanding. But what if you are looking for ways to involve students in the entire assessment process, not just the assessment itself? Assessment is not just grading homework, projects and tests, but rather it is a process of learning. The point of assessment is not to find out what students don’t know, but to continue to guide them toward what they still need to learn.
Here are 5 tips for involving students in the assessment process:
- Ask students help design the assessment rubric. If students have a voice in what is going to be assessed, they are more likely to take ownership in the final product. It will also help ensure that they understand what the intended outcomes should be. If you have already developed a rubric, devise classroom activities that involve discussion about what exactly is on the rubric. Allow students to ask questions and make suggestions about how they will be graded. Make sure they have a good understanding of what you will be looking for and how you will be grading them.
- Have students perform a self-evaluation. Before they turn in the project or assignment, have the students grade themselves using the same (or similar) rubric. Have them turn in their self-assessment as part of the assignment. This allows you to address the learning outcomes as well as learn more about how the student thought through the evaluation process. If you work with younger students, make a rubric with the same learning targets but use symbols (such as smiling faces and frowning faces) to help students assess their work.
- Allow students to evaluate each other’s work. Give students time to evaluate other people’s work using the same (or similar) rubric that you will use. Have them work in groups and talk with each other about their evaluations. Then give them additional time to make corrections prior to turning in the final product. Allowing the students to act as teachers will give them a different perspective when they go back and reflect on their own work.
- Have students create their own learning targets. In the blog post I mentioned earlier, I also discussed the importance of posting learning targets. Some units have a variety of possible learning targets. Rather than always deciding the targets yourself, allow the class to decide together. Or if you are in a more personalized learning environment, allow each student or small groups of students to determine their own learning targets. When students are fully engaged in the learning outcomes from the beginning, they are better able to stay focused on what is important in their learning.
- Involve students in big goal setting. So far I have discussed ways that you can involve students in the assessment process for a specific assessment or unit. It is also important to think about ways that students can make large learning goals for themselves. For example, have each student make their own literacy goals. Using Big Universe allows students to easily track their own progress through the reading levels. Have them make a goal for the quarter, semester or year. What is their current reading level? What is a reasonable amount of progress they can expect? How can you help them develop a plan to get from where they are to where they want to be? Students who help set their own goals are more likely to try to achieve them.
What about you? What ways are you involving students in the assessment process? Please comment below and share your ideas with others.