The Issue
Self-assessment is the ability to critique how you did something, the ability to learn from your mistakes and to use more of what works and less of what didn’t the next time. These skills are important in college and work but are rarely taught. Accurate self-assessment requires multiple opportunities to practice, with the ultimate goal of making accurate judgments on one’s own.

How Faculty Can Help
First, make students aware of the necessity of self-assessment. To begin skill development, students have to learn to reconsider their reasons for a self-assessment versus one by peers or a teacher, reflecting on why there are differences.

Provide efficient self-assessment opportunities:

  • A student reports the grade he thinks he’s earned on a paper (with an explanation) and compares his own assessment to the instructor’s (Note: research shows students are more candid in their assessment if they know the instructor will not see their own review).
  • Group members rate their own contributions in specified categories and are also rated by the rest of the group, then compare those ratings.
  • Instructors can ask pointed questions: “Given where you’re headed professionally, what communications skills you need that you don’t yet have?”

Lastly, examine program curricula to determine whether self-assessment skills are being developed to the extent they should and if not, where and when they are best taught.

*Adapted from Weimer, M. Developing Students’ Self-Assessment Skills. Faculty Focus, 12/10/14.