Introduction to Leaders of Their Own Learning: Why Student-Engaged Assessment Matters
Excerpt from Leaders of Their Own Learning
The most important assessments that take place in any school building are seen by no one. They take place inside the heads of students, all day long. Students assess what they do, say, and produce, and decide what is good enough. These internal assessments govern how much they care, how hard they work, and how much they learn. They govern how kind and polite they are and how respectful and responsible. They set the standard for what is “good enough” in class. In the end, these are the assessments that really matter. All other assessments are in service of this goal—to get inside students’ heads and raise the bar for effort and quality.
Student-engaged assessment is effective because it draws on these internal assessments that occur naturally for students. Unfortunately, students and teachers often don’t know how to tap into this level of assessment and learn how to capitalize on it. Students frequently have widely varying internal standards for quality and aren’t clear about what “good enough” looks like. Some students have internalized a sense that they don’t have a value or voice in a classroom setting and that anything they do will be inferior to the work of the “smart kids.” In other cases, they believe they have only one chance to do something and begin to work from a place of compliance and completion rather than working toward quality through a series of attempts.
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