So far in my experience, my secondary students have always enjoyed having a little control in the classroom. When teens feel like they are in control of their own outcomes, they are generally more likely to put forth their best effort. When it comes to my classroom, my students have a say in nearly everything we do (outside of the curriculum) from classroom rules all the way to assessment. It doesn’t have to be crazy, or even difficult. It actually makes grading, teaching, and learning a lot easier and a lot more interesting.
Here are a few ways I involve students in their own assessment and learning process.
- Student-Created Expectations
- Whether it be a rubric, or classroom rules, get your learners involved in the creation of what is expected of them. Make sure this list or rubric is displayed where all students may see it easily from any space within the room.
- Once expectations are clear, demonstrate what it means to peer review. Peer-Reviewing is an excellent way to teach your students accountability, while also having each student help each other out on assignments throughout the learning processes. If a student can teach the content to another student, then they definitely know and understand the material.
- Demonstration of Knowledge
- Allowing students to come up with the way they demonstrate their new knowledge is a simple way to differentiate instruction and allow students to assess themselves and reflect on their overall accomplishment. Students can come up with what they would like to learn from a topic or content area and how they would like to present their information. With this easy method, students basically do all of the planning for themselves with educators playing the role of coach and mentor.
- Folder/Binder Checks
- Depending on the projects and topics we are covering in class, students will keep research folders, journals, or binders. Every week, students should have a specific amount of work completed in their folder. At the beginning of the week, I let them know what I will be looking for during the folder check on Friday – a rubric or checklist of sorts. Students keep track of their own progress and learn time-management skills. It’s a win-win for everyone!
- Progress Charts
- Progress charts are just like the folder/binder checks mentioned above. I usually do progress charts by the classroom, though. Students can reflect on where they are at in the material and move their clips or magnets up—or down—to show where they sit with the material and content at hand. I like to make these fun and colorful that reflect each student and classroom environment.
There are plenty of ways to involve students in their own assessment and learning processes. These are some of the ones I use regularly in my high school English classes. They work from my experience, so they should work for you! Everything here is completely flexible, so you can mold these ideas to fit your own classroom. Happy learning!