4 Steps of Student Self-Assessment
An independent learner is a student who is able to accurately and effectively self-assess their own performance and then revise it in accordance with their findings. The New Mexico School for the Arts (NMSA), which offers a combined arts and academic curriculum, has this objective in mind: to cultivate students who are self-reliant, self-sufficient, and lifelong learners.
Structured critique is taught in all of NMSA’s art departments (dance, theatre, music, and visual arts), which helps students develop the skills to evaluate and improve their work in a variety of contexts, including the arts, academics, and other fields.
The following activities teach students how to evaluate their own work:
Observing other people’s successful strategies
Learning words and phrases that are unique to their trade
Practicing peer critique
“According to Karina Hean, who is the chair of the visual arts department at NMSA, “My aim as a teacher in relation to self-assessment is to get kids to a place by the 11th grade where they can visualise what needs to modify and be their own editor. They’re always going to rely on voices from the outside, which isn’t always a terrible thing in and of itself, but you often need to be your own issue solver. Until they can do that, they always will.”
If you want to build your students’ ability to self-assess, you can use NMSA’s three-step approach in your classroom, as well as its techniques, such as Post-it note critiques and Visual Thinking Strategies. This will allow you to develop your students’ ability to evaluate their own work.
Show your students some examples of people who have mastered something.
In order for students to produce great work, they first need to have an understanding of what constitutes excellent work. Cristina Gonzalez, a former chair of the visual arts department at NMSA, states that “then the teacher has an obligation to speak to what makes that work great in a very specific way.” “Then the teacher has an obligation to speak to what makes that work great in a very specific way.”
You can show students samples of your own work, as well as the work of outside experts, college students, upperclassmen, their own classmates, or even films, photographs, and texts to demonstrate proficiency. You can also show students the work of other students. Providing instances of one’s mastery can be applied to fields other than the arts, such as academics:
You are able to demonstrate to your students how an excellent essay should be written in English by showing them a model essay.
You can go back over the principles for a productive conversation even if you’re in the middle of a Socratic dialogue.
For the purpose of illuminating effective methods of classroom discourse, the public school located in London known as School 21 presents live demonstrations as well as films of previously recorded dialogues between instructors.
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Your students need to know the language that is relevant to their profession in order to evaluate not just their own work but also the work of others. Some examples of this specialised vocabulary include wiping, burrs, and mezzotinting. According to Cindy Montoya, the principle of NMSA, in order to provide feedback, it can’t simply be the way that you feel about something. “That comment was based on some technical knowledge about their particular work,” the speaker said.
Make a word board or a word wall. The NMSA dance department has a board where they list terminology (such as canon, plié, and tendu), and students are tested on that language. The sentences that serve as a reference for the drama department’s peer review are displayed on the walls of the department. When you point out to pupils that “The angel didn’t fly” or “You disrupted the moment,” you are indicating that a scene ended prior to the students adequately communicating what they had wanted to communicate.
Make sure that all teachers in a department use the same language to critique student work, whether that department is English, science, or drama. Make sure that all teachers use the same terminology. “Joey Chavez, who is in charge of the theatre department at NMSA, argues that the fact that everyone speaks the same language is on purpose. It is important to us that all four of the instructors offer them comments using the same terminology.” Your pupils will continue to build upon the same vocabulary as they progress from year to year within the same depatment if you do this.
Teach your students how to provide feedback to one another effectively.
Your children will have the opportunity to use and share their voice through the process of peer critique, which will also help them become more responsive to hearing and implementing feedback. According to Hean, “they have a greater propensity to listen to the voices of their peers.” “It is also beneficial for students to articulate and write out their ideas, as this will help them to make their ideas brief, get them clear, and realise when their ideas are not obvious.”
Before beginning a critique, you should help your students in the creation of a verbal agreement on what they want to achieve out of the critique and what behaviours they’ll follow in order to get that end. This agreement is called a verbal critique contract. It’s vital to encourage positive behaviours such as:
Having a respectful attitude toward one’s contemporaries
Keeping a healthy balance between positive criticism and compliments
Providing concrete illustrations of what works effectively and what areas have room for improvement
Keeping in mind that providing feedback is not an attack on you personally
It is essential to always emphasise to your pupils that the goal of a critique is to help them learn and improve their work. They become more responsive to feedback after they acknowledge that the objective of a critique is to assist them better their work because they are aware that the information will be beneficial to them.
Your pupils will also get more comfortable with providing constructive feedback if you have them commit to the agreement verbally. Hean believes that while compliments are pleasant, they do not propel one ahead in life. She explains that by having them come up with their own verbal contract, “you’re giving them a chance, from their own motivation, to make sure that they’ll respect that agreement and help one other.” [Citation needed]
Steer clear of terminology that is ambiguous or offensive. For example, when your students are providing feedback on a piece of work, they might use a word like “uninteresting” to describe it. Words like those are ambiguous and can be taken personally. “If you have a student say, ‘Your print is really dull’ or ‘Your drawing is really boring,’ that could mean so many different things,” explains Hean. “If you have a student say, ‘Your drawing is really boring,’ that may imply so many different things.” “What are they seeing? Assist your pupils in getting beyond the surface terms and delving deeper into what is going on with the design, and give them the opportunity to do both.”
To get started, let’s look at some written feedback: “Critiquing and speaking out loud about your own work or the work of someone else is really daunting,” says Hean. “The same goes for praising someone else’s work.” “And to say it in front of your peer group that you see every day is possibly even more so because there is an accountability there,” she said. “And to say it in front of your peer group that you see every day is even more so.”
Have your pupils first write their critiques, and then have them read them out loud to the class. This will help them become more comfortable and confident when it comes to giving their ideas. Students who are unsure of how they feel about a piece of work can benefit from this technique since it can help them find what draws them to the piece of work even if they are uncomfortable with not knowing what to say about it.
According to Hean, “the most important thing for each student to understand is that they have an opinion that is credible and powerful, and that they can communicate that opinion to one another.” “Developing that kind of self-assurance is one of the tasks that come with this position. You walk them through each sentence, assisting them in ariving at a point where they may have faith in the conclusions drawn from their own thinking.”
To assist pupils in comprehending the reasons behind their likes and dislikes, the following are provided: The vast majority of children who are entering ninth grade at NMSA are aware that they either enjoy something or do not like something, but they do not always know why they feel this way. According to Hean, “We strive to help them find what it is — why something in a composition or design is working, and why something else is not,” and we do this by assisting them in “discovering what it is.”