Self-assessments encourage students to reflect on their growing skills and knowledge, learning goals and processes, products of their learning, and progress in the course. Student self-assessment can take many forms, from low-stakes check-ins on their understanding of the day’s lecture content to self-assessment and self-evaluation of their performance on major projects. Student self-assessment is also an important practice in courses that use alternative grading approaches. While the foci and mechanisms of self-assessment vary widely, at their core the purpose of all self-assessment is to “generate feedback that promotes learning and improvements in performance” (Andrade, 2019). Fostering students’ self-assessment skills can also help them develop an array of transferable lifelong learning skills, including:

  • Metacognition: Thinking about one’s own thinking. Metacognitive skills allow learners to “monitor, plan, and control their mental processing and accurately judge how well they’ve learned something” (McGuire & McGuire 2015).
  • Critical thinking: Carefully reasoning about the evidence and strength of evidence presented in support of a claim or argument.
  • Reflective thinking: Examining or questioning one’s own assumptions, positionality, basis of your beliefs, growth, etc.
  • Self-regulated learning: Setting goals, checking in on one’s own progress, reflecting on what learning or study strategies are working well or not so well, being intentional about where/when/how one studies, etc.