A student’s take on self assessment

If you’ve been following the Radical at all, you know that Dean Shareski has gotten me thinking about the role that self-assessment should play in my classroom.

After having my students work through a few opportunities to assess their own learning, I asked them to assess self-assessment as an instructional practice.

Specifically, I told them I was interested in (1). their perspective on the fact that self-assessments aren’t graded and (2). their perspective on having the chance to reflect on their own learning.

One of my favorite responses came from Anna Beth, who wrote:

Self assessment really helped me to find what my written work was missing.  The questions you asked got me to realize that my work was not as good as I thought it was.

After looking at my work carefully, I came to the conclusion that my thoughts were not explained clearly enough for someone else to be interested in my work.

I find that I do better on most assignments that aren’t graded versus knowing that they will be graded.  I think that this is because the pressure of a grade is taken away.  Therefore, I am assured that if I don’t do well, my grade won’t be effected.

When that pressure is taken away, I focus better on what I’m doing and I tend to do better.  This is where my Ravenclaw side is shown because I want to do well, but I can be so focused on wanting to do well that I can get distracted from actually learning.

That’s an interesting take, isn’t it?  I especially liked the last line:  I can be so focused on wanting to do well that I can get distracted from actually learning.

I wonder if that holds true for other students too?  Have we gotten to a point in our high stakes world that grades have replaced learning completely?

Is that something we can fix or is grading too far gone to actually fix?