Self and Peer Assessment

How often do you ask your students to assess themselves and/or their peers? Self-assessment requires students to evaluate their own work and judge how well they performed in relation to both learning goals and assessment criteria (Brown, Rust, & Gibbs, 1994). Rather than generating their own grades, students can use self-assessment to reflect on what they have already learnt and what they still need to learn. This process helps students set their own goals to improve their learning and develop strategies based on how they learn best. For McKeachie (2005), self-assessment procedures are a form of practice at the disposal of faculty members in rendering students as lifelong learners:

“After the course is over, students will not be able to depend on you to assess the quality of their learning. If one of your goals is the development of lifelong learning skills, students need practice in self-assessment” (p. 74).

Incorporating self and peer assessment, thus, helps students embark on their needs and abilities in a realistic manner to improve their learning environment which extends beyond the confines of the classrooms. Regarding the relation between lifelong learning and self-assessment, Peter Senge (2000) also says “A cornerstone of lifelong learning is the capacity for objective self-assessment—the ability to judge yourself how well you are doing” (p. 44). Incorporating self-assessment procedures as part of the curricular activities can provide the students with the skills for self-regulated learning which they can utilize as lifelong learners.

Self-assessment not only helps motivate students to engage with the material more deeply but also obliges them to reinterpret their role. On the one hand, this reinterpretation of their role can stimulate active learning and critical thinking toward course-related tasks and their own performance. On the other hand, it can generate “a stance characterized by disinterest, passivity, and lack of critical thinking” (Siles-Gonzales & Solano-Ruiz, 2016). What do you think about these conflicting outcomes of self-assessment? How can you integrate self-assessment in the curricular activities of the students? When and how do you think, self-assessment is beneficial? What are the factors that should be taken into consideration when incorporating self-assessment in the course design?


Brown, S. Rust, C. & Gibbs, G. (1994). Strategies for Diversifying Assessment in Higher Education. The Oxford Centre for Staff Development, Oxford: Oxonion Rewley Press.

McKeachie, W. J., & Svinicki, M. D. (2005). McKeachie’s Teaching Tips: Strategies, Research and Theory for College and University Teachers. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Senge, P. (2000). Schools that Learn: A Fifth Discipline Fieldbook for Educators, Parents, and Everyone Who Cares about Education. New York: Doubleday.

Siles-Gonzales, J., Solano-Ruiz, C. (2016). Self-assessment, Reflection on Practice and Critical Thinking in Nursing Students. Nurse Education Today, 45, 132-137.