Assessment for Learning
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Student self-assessment is now regarded as vital to success at school. Black and Wiliam (1998) put it like this:

… self-assessment by pupils, far from being a luxury, is in fact an essential component of formative assessment.

The implementation of student self-assessment in the classroom does not ignore the role of the teacher. The very important role of the teacher involves:

  • sharing with students the success criteria for each assessment activity
  • ensuring that students understand the success criteria
  • explicitly teaching students how to apply those criteria to their own work
  • providing students with feedback to help them improve; and
  • helping students to set learning targets to achieve that improvement.

Students who use self-assessment:

  • recognise that learning is associated with a very positive kind of difficulty, which increases motivation rather than destroying it
  • experience an increase in self-esteem
  • experience an improvement in their learning because they come to know how they learn rather than just what they learn.

Teachers who encourage students to self-assess:

  • see the responsibility for learning shifting from them to their students
  • recognise an increase in student motivation and enthusiasm for learning and a corresponding decrease in behavioural problems
  • are able to use feedback from their students about how they learn to shape lessons to individual and group needs rather than teaching to the mythical class as whole


  • ASCD Research brief June 28 2005, Vol. 3 Journal, Writing in Mathematics Education.
  • Black, P and Wiliam, D 1998, Inside the black box: Raising standards through classroom assessment. School of Education, King's College, London, UK.
  • Black, P, Harrison, C, Lee, C, Marshall, B and Wiliam, D 2003, Assessment for Learning - Putting it into practice OUP, Berkshire, England.
  • Clarke, S 2005, Formative assessment in the secondary classroom, Hodder Murray, UK.
  • Dann, R 2002, Promoting assessment as learning: Improving the learning process, RoutledgeFarmer, London.
  • Earl, L.M 2003, Assessment as learning: Using classroom assessment to maximise student learning, Corwin Press, California.
  • Glasson, T 2009, Improving student achievement: A practical guide to Assessment for Learning, Curriculum Corporation, Carlton South, Australia.
    Self-assessment. This British publication outlines the benefits of student self-assessment and examines some strategies to engage students in the process (downloaded August 2008)