Self-assessment encourages students to reflect on their performance in relation to pre-defined criteria. The benefits of self-assessment are similar to those of peer assessment. If done skilfully self-assessment has the potential to:

  • Encourage student reflection
  • Promote student-centred learning
  • Help lecturers narrow down their feedback and focus on areas important for the student
  • Help students become autonomous learners
  • Develop judgement and monitoring skills
  • Develop a range of skills transferable to the world of employment

Self-assessment can be used in a variety of contexts and ways, i.e. as a vehicle for formative feedback or can be incorporated as a component of summative assessment in the form of: 

  • Reflective logs
  • Diaries
  • Feedback sheets
  • Posters
  • Presentations

Introducing self-assessment can be difficult. This is mostly due to the fact that this form of assessment might be new to students, they might not have enough experience to know how to approach the process, and might not see the value in the activity. Hence for a self-assessment activity to be meaningful, note the following advice:

  • Ask students to identify on which aspects of their work they would like to receive feedback
  • Separate feedback from the grade
  • Provide a grade after a combination of student and tutor feedback

Designing the self-assessment sheet

While self-assessment is a great step into opening a dialogue with students, repetitive use of the same feedback form can encourage surface rather than deep learning. Here are some self-assessment questions which had been found useful.

  1. What do you think is a fair score or grade for the work you have handed in?
  2. What do you think you did best in this assignment?
  3. What do you think you did least well in this assignment?
  4. What did you find the hardest part of this assignment?
  5. What was the most important thing you learned in this assignment?

Students' answers to Question 1 might not correspond to your assessment of their work, however, those discrepancies are a good indicator of students' knowledge and understanding of criteria. Questions 2 and 3 will draw your attention to students' assessment of their strong and weak points, possibly highlighting aspects you might have overlooked.