Reflection: Self-assessment

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Reflections Photo: L.. Schmidt

Objective: “Self-assessment is the act of identifying standards or criteria and applying them to one’s own work, and then making judgment as to whether – or how well – you have met them” (Fenwick & Parsons , 2009, page 111).

Reflection: In one of my previous reflective writing submissions, I identified self-regulation as being the characteristic of adult learners that drives how I design and deliver a course. Taking this course on evaluation got me thinking: Am I ready to walk my talk? Am I ready to ‘allow’ students to self-assess and evaluate their own learning for marks?

Interpretive: Being self-regulated means applying metacognitive strategies – setting goals, self-monitoring, and self-evaluating – to the process of learning (Fact Sheet: Metacognitive Processes, 2012). Self-regulation is vital when it comes to learning effectively (Fact Sheet: Metacognitive Processes, 2012).

Self-assessment is metacognition at work. Self-assessment has been shown to be an effective strategy to influence learning (David-Lang, 2012) and has been shown to have a significant impact on student achievement (The Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat Capacity Building Series Special Edition #4, 2007).

The Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat Capacity Building Series Special Edition #4, (2007) identified critical thinking skills as a necessary part of self-assessment.

Fenwick and Parsons (2009) stated, “ (s)elf-assessment should be balanced with feedback from an external source to provide different perspectives” (page 113).


The evidence to support self-assessment as an effective strategy to support learning is solid. If I value the importance of self-regulation in my students then I need to let them take responsibility for their learning and this means having them participate in the evaluation of their performances.

In the online course I have redesigned, I have included activities like the ‘muddiest point’, personal journal activities and critical thinking activities and have developed rubrics to help students improve their skills of self-reflection and self-assessment by providing clear standards/criteria for them to measure their work. Including self-assessment for marks should integrate well into the curriculum.

In terms of providing an opportunity for self-assessment for marks, four of the assessments in the course: case studies, discussion forum posts, presentation and patient teaching poster/handout are possibilities. While I see potential for all four of these assessments to be self-assessed for marks, I feel that this may be too much additional work for the students in terms of rational reports so I will begin with one assessment. I will reassess this decision after a year to determine if more assessments should be self-assessed for marks.

The assessment that I would like to start with are the discussion forum posts as they are ongoing throughout the course so this will provide an opportunity for students to make changes as they progress through the course. To provide a balanced assessment from an external source, I think that the mark should be split with 10% coming from the student for a personal evaluation of his/her posts (using the discussion forum rubric as a guide) and 5% coming from the teacher for an external evaluation of the student’s rational for their mark (using the rational rubric as a guide).

I am very excited about the prospect of truly engaging and validating the adult learner as a self-regulated learner by incorporating self-assessment for marks into the course.


David-Lang, J. (2012) Summary of Visible Learning for Teachers: Maximizing Impact on Learning By John Hattie (Routledge, 2012) The Main Idea Current Education Book Summaries. Retrieved from

Fact Sheet: Metacognitive Processes (2012) TEAL Teaching Excellence in Adult Learning. Retrieved from: (Paste URL to browser then click the PDF, for some reason it won’t link to the server)

Fenwick, T.J. & Parsons, J. (2009) The Art of Evaluation A Resources for Educators and Trainers Thompson Educational Publishing Inc Toronto, Canada

 The Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat Capacity Building Series Special Edition #4 (2007) Government of Ontario. Retrieved from: