Self-Assessment

I'm thinking out loud here about an idea that's coming down the tube. I absolutely love self-assessment. And the research backs up my love of self-assessment. There's one paper in particular written by James McMillan and Jessica Hearn that encompasses the entire gamut of self-assessment - you can read it in its entirety here. It's well worth your time.

There are a couple of ideas that I want to highlight as I work through how I'm going to implement this in my class. The first is motivation. I, like a lot of teachers, wish that my students cared more about their own learning. I want them to want to learn. I can compel all kinds of actions and emotions from my students, but none of them are as good or as worthy as an action or emotion that comes from within. This line comes early in the paper, but it's the essence of why we should make every effort to include self-assessment:

Correctly implemented, student self-assessment can promote intrinsic motivation, internally controlled effort, a mastery goal orientation, and more meaningful learning.

Later in the paper, McMillan and Hearn include a graphic that is kind of like the self-assessment version of the SAMR model:
 
This is, without doubt, one of those year-long efforts. If done well, it will become part of the fabric of my teaching. That right there is what makes self-assessment so damn difficult. Self-assessment cannot be something that I visit every once in a while, which is truthfully the model I've followed in past years. I've conducted student surveys since my first year teaching 5 years ago, but only about once a month at most. Last year, I implemented a consistent journal for my freshman students that needs tweaking, but was a good start at self-reflective practices; to get to full in the chart above, self-reflection is an absolute necessity.

I started to think about some sort of self-assessment that happens more regularly than once a month or once a week. I got into a long conversation with my fantastic wife, who teaches a classroom of students with autism. Data collection is her thing. That conversation led me to this really short survey that currently holds a spot at the top of my online classroom ready to be taken by my students in about a month.
































So here we are. The idea is that students will quickly take this survey every single day. At the end of each quarter, I'll take the average rating that each student gives herself, multiply the score by 10 and enter it as one of the assessment grades for the quarter. For example, Donte gives himself an average score of 8.7 during first quarter. Donte will receive an 87 out of 100 grade for first quarter. It is simple enough that it can be explained and understood easily by the students, which will hopefully give them some buy-in to what we're trying to do.

More to come on the idea. Do you have something that you do to give your students a chance to self-assess? Share your stories in the comments below!

Thanks for reading this blog! I hope you'll consider taking a moment to comment below and turn this into a conversation. Whether you are an educator or not, we have all had common experiences with education both good and bad. I want to hear what you think! 
About Me:
My name is Alec Chambers. I am a high school history and government teacher at a small, urban public school in Kansas City called Center High School. We regularly kick tail. Among many awards, we were named a National Blue Ribbon School in 2014. I don't just teach at Center- I also graduated from Center in 2006 after attending Center Schools K-12. I have a degree in Political Science, a second degree in International Relations, a third degree in Education and a Master's of Arts in Teaching. I have an unofficial degree is soccer. All of those degrees have led me to the high-paying teaching profession! I have a newborn daughter and am married to the most awesome woman on the planet. Seriously. It's a proven fact.

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