Returning to School 4: Developing Students As Assessors

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Returning to School 4: Developing Students As Assessors

In their upcoming book (Rowman and Littlefield, June 2020), Mary Ann Burke and Laura Greenstein explain the importance of developing students as self-assessors. Key ideas include:

  1. Confirm that students understand the purpose and intentions of learning.
  2. Guide and support students as they develop plans for monitoring their learning.
  3. Incorporate practical processes for tracking their own progress as well as responding to oversights and misunderstandings.
  4. Encourage the use of feedback from multiple sources, including self-reflection, teachers, peers, and source material.

Heidi Andrade (2012) encapsulates the importance of developing students as self-assessors this way: “When assessment is student-focused, it centers on students’ strengths, needs, and interests; involves students in setting goals; promotes learning through growth; monitors progress; and determines how to address any gaps” (p. 2).

With practice and support, learners take on increasing responsibility for their learning as well as the appraisal of learning. In turn, this leads to the development of life-long skills such as responding and resolving learning challenges, recognizing that mistakes can be learning opportunities, enhancing problem-solving skills, and increasing independence and resourcefulness.


_____ 1. Ask students to explain learning targets in their own words.  
_____ 2. Incorporate checks for understanding throughout learning.
_____ 3. Acknowledge and encourage each student’s strengths and skills.  
_____ 4. Help learners appreciate mistakes as opportunities for improving. 
_____ 5. Have students recognize the connections between learning
intentions and outcomes.
 _____ 6. Provide feedback that is focused and actionable.
 _____ 7. Incorporate opportunities for self-scoring and self-correcting

Determining whether students are prepared to learn begins with cognitive and emotional readiness to learn, mastery of academic foundations, understanding of expected processes and outcomes of learning, awareness of personal strengths and struggles, and access to a playbook of strategies and resources for reviewing and fine-tuning learning. Below is an example of a rubric for student self-scoring and self-reflection.


  • Assessment is a strategy for furthering learning.
  • Comprehensive assessment requires the use of varied methods for multiple purposes.
  • Engaging students IN assessment and AS assessors is imperative.
  • When you must rely on summative scores, there should be no surprises for teachers or students.
  • Refocus Assessment AS a form of learning rather than solely a measure OF final outcomes.
  • Rely on multiple viewpoints of assessment, from a close-up lens to far-reaching implications.
  • Remember that assessment is not only an ending. It can also be a beginning.

Andrade, H. 2012

Assessment-ready learners understand assessment routines, engage IN assessment, and serve AS assessors throughout learning.

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