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Involving students in assessment processes

Assessment is done with the student, not to the student

As is the case with teaching and learning, assessment is a collaborative endeavour between the teacher and the student – where both want to determine what the student knows and what might be learnt next. Therefore, a major role for the teacher is to manage the learning culture of the classroom in order to maximise students' motivation to engage keenly with assessment. If the student is not motivated to try with the assessment, it is likely that the results will not really show what the student knows or can do. Such a result will not help either the teacher or the student to plan next steps.

Teachers should always involve students in assessment decision-making

Whether informal or formal, assessment should always involve the students in decision-making about as many aspects of the assessment as possible. These include the timing, the design, and the assessment criteria so that students are able to properly see themselves as co-constructors of the assessment, with equal ownership of the results.

Some tools lend themselves to greater student involvement than others, depending on how they have been designed. However, even where there is little opportunity for student input into the actual assessment construction, students should be supported to see the assessment results as providing them with valuable information about what they know and what they might need to learn next.

Plan to share the data with the students

Discuss how and when you will share any data with students. They are the prime owners of their assessment results; they need the information to be able to determine for themselves where they are with their learning including whether they are making expected progress. Such a result will not help either the teacher or the student to plan next steps or include reliable and valid information in tracking progress made.

Further reading

Selecting an assessment tool discusses what to consider before using an assessment tool. 

Watch the teachers from Mangere Bridge School in South Auckland talk about sharing assessment data with their students, and how this enables students to develop their own next steps in learning and to take ownership of the learning.