Using self-assessment in art lessons has lots of benefits to both you and your students.
Self-assessment in teaching is the process by which a student evaluates their own learning and performance in a course or assignment. This can be achieved through discussion, setting goals, monitoring progress, reflecting on strengths and weaknesses, and making adjustments to improve learning outcomes. It can also involve the use of various tools such as rubrics, checklists, and journals to aid in the evaluation process.
A well-designed curriculum should ask students to evaluate and analyse creative works using the language of art, craft and design. As students mature, we hope that they will be moving towards becoming self-directed, reflective learners. From the age of about 15 in the UK, students are expected to follow independent courses of study where they plot their own creative course. Being equipped with the skills to reflect on what they have done and then independently move forward, developing their own creativity, is a goal all art teachers should be striving for.
We want our students to leave school as articulate and literate individuals. Being able to use subject-specific language is an important part of this. We can develop these skills in our students by incorporating subject-specific language into self-assessment. For example, when we ask them to assess a piece of work, either through discussion or in written form, we can insist that they include specific words that are appropriate for the task.
‘Write a sentence on the bottom of your page that states how you could improve your drawing. You must include the words ‘mark-making’.
You could give your students some thinking time for this task before they write and get some students to share what they plan to write before the class all write a self-assessment.
The first benefit for teachers are the benefits for students listed above. After all, we are there for the benefit of our students! Other benefits include:
Simple self-assessment techniques such as discussing and then writing how they could improve a drawing can be used to settle a class. The volume of a class can easily rise whilst they are working and instead of asking for quiet for quiet’s sake, you can ask for quiet for a reason and get a bit of self-assessment done at the same time. It feels more purposeful.
Using self-assessment as a strategy to reduce marking has been a lifesaver at times for me. You still may wish to grade the work but you will no longer have to write a time-consuming comment unless the student has self-assessed incorrectly. Self-assessment takes place in the classroom instead of in your precious free periods or out of hours.
Internal inspections by your senior teachers (often called ‘work scrutiny’) or external inspections by OFSTED or similar bodies are likely to want to see a selection of students’ books. Having evidence of different types of assessment certainly puts a tick in box.
In my department, we use self-assessment and peer assessment stamps. So that I’m ready for any inspection, I ensure the first piece of work in every class’s sketchbook is self-assessed or peer assessed. This helps me o remember to do it, creates a great first impression for any inspection and also engages your students with their learning.
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