In today’s article, the author explains the benefits and challenges of encouraging learners to assess themselves, and why more teachers should adopt this practice.
It is incredible how the end of the year is always crazy for teachers. It does not matter where you work; the last month will be filled with tests that need to be graded, grades that you have to post, papers that you have to hand in. Teachers try their best to start the work early and avoid work piling up, but it is a worthless effort. Between so many troubles, there are several items teachers cannot forget and one of them I will highlight in this post.
Many students see assessments as something negative that teachers use to evaluate, and I do not blame them. Particularly for little ones, they cannot see the big picture, and it is not part of teachers’ routines to explain why this or that test is taking place. There is one type of assessment that is necessary for teachers to start using more and also make their students aware of the real value it has. I am talking about the self-assessment.
When well conducted, the self-assessment can be the best tool teachers can use from the time the kids are very little. This is the moment when children can stop and revise their attitudes, progress and outcomes. Some of them might need extra help because they can find it hard to look inside and understand what actually happens there. Others might be too negative on themselves. A good self-assessment brings reflections and conclusions that no other test can produce. When teachers ask students to evaluate themselves, the responsibility is transferred, and they have to be real inquirers about themselves.
The self-assessment can also provide empathy when kids wear their teacher’s shoes. With younger children, teachers should not ask students to grade themselves, but write a reflection that represents their learning. When teachers work with an IB school, they can go deeper with the self-assessment, as they can explore the profiles, and the attitudes children have towards their learning process and friends’ relationships.
Teachers can be scared and insecure when using the self-assessment with students for the first time. However, the surprises that can come when the first assessment is done will undoubtedly encourage the practice to be repeated throughout the whole year. An educator can never suggest a self-assessment before knowing exactly what he or she wants from it. It is not just a simple document, but the assessment has to go beyond the idea of grading content. This test should tell a story and the journey of an entire learning process.
Another teacher practice that should become more prevalent is the use of self-assessment alongside the teaching job. The best way children learn is through following or trying to follow a model. Therefore, educators have this huge responsibility over what they do inside and outside the classroom. By using the self-assessment for themselves, teachers show students that this is nothing but a natural procedure that intends to help and improve the work of everyone involved in teaching and learning within the 21st century education. Isn’t improvement what every teacher seeks?
Juliana Cavalieri is currently a Grade 1 PYP teacher at Santiago College. She is also finishing her Masters degree in teacher leadership in the USA. Juliana has studied the IB education for the past two years. She is a Brazilian teacher experiencing new practices in Chile. Juliana has been a speaker in some lectures in Brazil and attended others that made her passionate about the IB world. She is interested in innovation, technology, and enlarging network by using social media. She tweets @jujucavalieri.