Boosting Learner Agency with Student Self-Assessment

Writing for KnowledgeWorks, Sarah Pazur reports on the results of a program to increase learner agency through self-assessment in FlexTech High Schools. Excerpts of the piece appear below:

Teachers who leverage the power of self-assessment can significantly raise student achievement by teaching students self-regulatory processes. At FlexTech High Schools in Michigan, educators piloted three tools for self-assessment to ensure students understood and could articulate what they were learning every step of the way:

  1. A Rainbow Rubric which asked students to assess their mastery of procedures, concepts and real-world application throughout a project-based investigation
  2. An “I Can” board that students used to communicate their mastery of a daily lesson or task that related to a larger project investigation
  3. A student self-evaluation survey given to students via a Google Form where they reported their mastery of a specific content area competency

The preliminary results showed promising strides in learner agency. In six months, we met our target of 60 percent of the students using evidence to discuss where they are on their learning. In some classrooms, nearly 100 percent of the students interviewed demonstrated the use of self-assessment and could discuss their learning progress relative to the school’s mastery scale. Focus group interviews revealed that students saw value in using self-assessment.

Teachers reported that students showed more ownership over the learning process and were more self-aware of the learning target as they moved through a project. They felt the tools gave students a common language to talk about their progress on the project overall and an opportunity to think about the discrete skills and tasks that a large project requires.

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