Assess and Reflect: Keys to Active Engagement and Improved Achievement

There are two/three assess and reflect outcomes at every grade level in the SK ELA curriculum that deal with monitoring, self-assessing and setting goals for improvement.  Below are examples from grade 1 & 6

  • AR1.1 Identify what good viewers, listeners, readers, representers, speakers, and writers do.
  • AR.1.2 Set and monitor goals for more effective viewing, listening, reading, representing, speaking, and writing experiences.
  • AR6.1 Consider which viewing, listening, reading, representing, speaking, and writing strategies work best for each task and situation.
  • AR6.2 Appraise own viewing, listening, reading, representing, speaking, and writing skills and strategies, and set goals for improvement.
  • AR6.3 Appraise own and others’ work for clarity.

Wiliam states that promoting reflection of one’s ideas is essential to good learning and if students have a clear picture of the target that their learning is meant to attain, they become more committed and more effective as learners.  Their own assessments become an object of discussion with their teachers and with one another.  (Inside the Black Box, 2001). Schimmer (2012) explains that students’ ownership is about students becoming active partners in the learning process.  The teacher creates the conditions that empower students to authentically feel as though their education is something on which they have input and influence.  To effectively self-assess, students must

  • understand the value of self-assessment
  • be taught how to self-assess
  • share the teacher’s understanding of quality
  • have the support needed to improve their work

Self-assessment leads to a deeper understanding of concepts taught and allows students to be part of the management team of their learning.  Helping and guiding students to take ownership and involvement in their learning maximizes learning of required skills and content and of themselves.  Self-directed, independent, lifelong learners are able to

  • communicate intended learning outcomes and criteria for success
  • describe the progress they have made in relation to the criteria or outcomes
  • self-reflect and assess to set future learning goals

I receive emails indicating that the assess and reflect outcomes are not included on the progress report.  This is true and here is why.  Self-assessment should focus on improving features of the work as it relates to learning targets, not on getting a better score or grade.  Damian Cooper refers to this as bumping it up.  Thanks to LD for providing a link that so clearly explains and shows “Bump it Up“.

A good way to work with self-assessment outcomes is to use a portfolio.   The portfolio is a process of collecting, selecting, organizing and reflecting.  A student is actively involved by creating a story of himself.  The collection demonstrates what the student knows and can do and provides a record of accomplishments.  It should also be a process – specifically, the process of generating new or deeper learning by reflecting on one’s existing learning. 

Check out my portfolio page for documents that can be used with your students to help them learn to self-assess.   This Assessment For Learning site is a work in progress.  Please share ideas, documents etc that you think would be helpful to others.

Check out Saskatchewan’s Cathy Cassidy and her class to see how blogging is used for student portfolios.  Nicola’s e-portfolio documents her middle years learning journey.  She has demonstrated through the use of web 2.0 tools what she knows and can do.  These senior portfolios are great examples of the potential of portfolios in highschool.  For a wealth of information on e-portfolios click here.

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About lgatzke

I am an assessment supervisor passionate about getting kids smarter. As Dylan Wiliam says, "Smart is not something you are, smart is something you get".
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