A blog post by freshgrade on why student self reflection is important

Why Student Self Reflection is Important

Student self-assessment and self reflection are processes that can be utilized to help students learn today—and also to become lifelong learners. As an ongoing practice, self-assessment & reflection help students learn more about their own strengths and challenges. It also helps teachers adapt to student needs because we can better understand how individual students learn. Self-assessment has been shown to positively impact student achievement and behavior.

Implementing the practice of self-assessment may require a flexible approach and ongoing commitment, but the benefits are long-lasting. If you’re planning to work self-assessment into your 2020 classroom, here are some considerations.

  Involve students in the process

One of the first steps in implementing student self-assessment in your classroom is to build a plan. The Ministry of Education encourages teachers to address student perceptions of self-assessment and to engage students in discussions and activities that focus on why self-assessment is important. Each student will process and react to the idea of self-assessment differently, so feel free to start small. You can develop checklists for your students and you can begin by modeling the self-assessment process.

Expect some students to embrace it—and some to resist. Remind yourself that in the early stages of learning how to self-assess, the practice may take adjustments and constant modeling and encouragement. Adapt your tools and timeline as needed. Once your students have had the chance to understand what self-assessment is—and why it’s important—you can move to different tools. From checklists to rubrics, journals, portfolios, audio or video recordings, there are so many ways to make this important skill work for individual students.

Help students define (and embrace!) how they learn

Self-assessment helps students to define themselves as learners. Teaching students how to think about their own thinking—or the process of metacognition—will have far-reaching benefits beyond their class experiences. Modeling metacognition inside your classroom could take on many different forms and with many different types of assignments. Talk students through how you would tackle a problem. Demonstrating how to put their own thinking and learning processes into words will make them better equipped to handle new kinds of problems. When they get a realistic view of themselves as learners, they become better goal-setters. As students are going through the process of self-assessment, by using metacognition techniques, they’ll be able to put into words challenges they have and unique ways of problem-solving that may help them in the future.

To help with student self reflection, teachers should communicate and connect with parents

All along the learning journey, it’s essential to communicate with parents and families, and when students start doing self-assessment, it’s a great time to get parents and families involved. Most parents want to see their child’s learning, and they want to understand how their child best learns. Show them how you plan to teach the process in your classroom. Consider giving parents ways to continue the practice at home, too. When parents are involved and part of the process, there will be richer conversations around learning at every touch point.

Get support from your leaders and district

An important part of making student self-assessment practice successful is being transparent with the leaders in your school and creating benchmarks for success. The Ministry of Education documents the importance around “collecting data about your school’s current assessment practices” in order to create efficient, new processes. If your school or district hasn’t yet adopted student self-assessment as a whole, talk to leaders who can help you create a self-assessment movement on a larger scale. And if you hit roadblocks, consider doing it in your own classroom as a test case so you can present your findings to your colleagues, leaders, and board.

Ultimately, introducing student self-assessment in your classroom is up to you. It’s always beneficial to research (and try!) different practices, systems, and techniques you’ve heard about and talk to colleagues about what works for them and their students, too.

To learn more about how to better support student self-assessment, how digital portfolios can promote feedback models, or for more information about student ownership of learning, visit FreshGrade.com.

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