Article written by: Kathy Cote’ Rogers, and her 7th + 8th grade students Ava, Hayden, and Raven.
As a teacher, I have designed numerous formative and summative assessments attempting to measure student learning. I have spent countless hours creating, compiling, disaggregating and analyzing test scores and achievement data in order to glean information that would help improve my instruction. But all my efforts, while well-intentioned, couldn’t tell the complete story of my students’ progress. There was always something missing. Today, I realize that I have been looking in all the wrong places for information about student learning.
It has become clear to me, that a student’s honest reflections are the best indicators of their progress. I am convinced that self-assessments of their own learning really are assessments for learning. Amy Fast is an education commentator who states that, “Ironically, the most under-utilized stakeholders in improving the effectiveness of our education system are our students themselves. When it comes to evaluating how students are doing in their learning, it turns out student self-assessment is possibly the most effective means by which we can measure their growth.” This view reflects my experiences with my students. I believe that the absolute best resource for information about student learning is the students themselves! Of all my modes of assessing and evaluating student learning, I have come to rely most heavily on student self-assessment and reflection to tell the story of a students’ learning journey.
Ask the Students About Their Learning
In this blog post, you hear from three of my current students, two eighth graders Raven Savage and Hayden Thompson and a seventh grader, Ava Taylor. These students are enthusiastic users of a digital portfolio system, FreshGrade, which allows us to engage in conversations about their learning. These students share their insights and opinions about learning in a classroom that is standards-based, focused on student ownership and increasingly uses descriptive feedback instead of traditional grades.