Teaching Students to Self-Assess and Peer-Assess

Sunday, January 20, 2019 1 comment
Last year, I participated in a district book study and twitter chat about Disruptive Classroom Technologies that left me with a challenge that I've been sitting with ever since.


As I read that passage, I was struck by my own need to grow in this area. You see, I'm a planner. I spend summers plotting the skills that I will teach along the timeline of a year.  I analyze the big picture and the day-to-day. I know the standards and I know how each project, assignment, and paper will fit into the mastery puzzle. ...But I've always kept those locked in my own head. I thought I was saving students from the planning burden, but after reading that passage, I was suddenly convicted that I was not saving them, I was depriving them.  So here is what I set out to try this school year:

  • Involve students directly in tracking their own mastery of the standards. 
  • Provide more opportunities for meaningful and authentic self-assessment and peer-assessment to give students a better understanding of their own mastery. 

Here are some of the ways I am reaching for those goals: 

1. Mastery Tracking by Unit: 

For each unit, I have been selecting power standards and then having students track their progress on these standards throughout the unit. Students assign a mastery level and reflection to their progress, effort, and feelings. At the end of the unit, they assess their overall mastery and provide links to evidence, which can be in the form of docs, slides, projects, screenshots of tools like NoRedInk or Vocab.com, images of notes or annotations, etc. Here are links to view the mastery trackers: Narrative, Rhetorical Analysis. Note: These are still a work in progress.  I'd love to talk about ways to improve this practice if you have ideas! 

2. More intentional visible thinking strategies: 

We have been making student thinking visible through strategies like thesis throwdown or TQE.  Visible thinking leads to classroom discussions about mastery and real-time, verbal formative assessment so that students can begin to understand the process of assessment in an authentic way. 

3. More peer feedforward: 

I've been adding peer assessment to digital projects like comics, infographics, essays, screencasts, and spark videos BEFORE I give feedback.  For the most part, on the due date of a project, I have all my students share a link to their work. Then, they assess each other and give-feed forward.  After that, I give them a couple of days to make improvements before I give my teacher assessment. I find that not only does peer-assessment help in the form of direct peer advice, seeing how other people created their products helps indirectly push the thinking of the reader. 

For this step we mostly use: 

1. Padlet. I make a column for each student.  They post their product on the top and then others comment below.  (See image)

2. Google Forms.  Students create a google form asking their peers to answer specific questions about their work and then analyze the trends. 

4. More assignments with built-in authentic audiences: 

I think that assignments like blogging and commenting lend themselves to a natural and authentic peer and self-assessment process. 

What strategies do you use to encourage students to understand the standards, track mastery, and plan for improvement? Leave a comment, question, or suggestion below. 

<3 Emily