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Module Five: Peer and Self-Assessment for K-12

What is Peer and Self-Assessment?

Two recognized strategies for high school teachers’ classroom formative assessment practice are peer and self assessment.  These methods shift the formative assessment responsibility from the teacher to the student.  Peer and self-assessmentgenerally provide students opportunities to evaluate their individual, collaborative group, and peers' academic performance on a given assignment. These assessment opportunities build confidence and helps students to become self-regulated learners. By assessing  their work and the work of their peers, students can reflect upon their learning and become more self-reliant  yet still  interdependent with their classmates.  Peer and self-assessment for students are principle components in the literature on assessment for learning and have been acknowledged through the work of many assessment experts such as Guskey, 2003, Stiggins, 2002, 2001,Arter & McTighe, 2001, and Kitsantis, Reisner, & Doster, (2004).
What Are the Objectives for Peer and Self-Assessment?
The objectives for peer and self-assessment are to develop the ability of students to make decisions about their abilities and to learn to judge their individual performance (Gutsky, 2003). Some to the desired skills students gain from these assessment strategies are the validating, applying, constructing, and evaluating criteria that has been applied to their work. "Teachers use peer and self-assessment to enhance learning: (1) to increase student involvement in the learning process (e.g. students assume teaching responsibilities), (2) to increase social interactions and trust in others, (3) to facilitate individual feedback, and (4) to focus students on the process rather than the product" (Noonan & Duncan, 2005, 3).
How Can Peer and Self-Assessment Be Implemented in the High School Classroom?
When designing learning activities, the teacher aligns the learning objectives to the assessment by the developing a rubric. For specifics on rubric development, see the Rubric Module.  A powerful way to engage the students in the assessment process is to involve them in the design of the rubric. Upon completion of the learning activity, students will assess their work or the group work of their peers and provide a judgment on how well their performance aligns to the rubric.  Typically the teacher will complete the assessment cycle by providing a score using the same rubric.  Peer and self assessment develop engagement in the learning process. Students are partners in learning with their peers and their teacher.  This assessment process illustrates that assessment is not a process to be "done to the student", but a process that is to be "done with the student. "These assessment strategies demonstrate to students that assessment is not arbitrary, but a collection of assigned scores based on multiple judgments of alignment to performance expectations.
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