Helping children to assess their own work

Aug 2012
When children write in a particular genre it may be helpful to give them a tick sheet

Encouraging children to assess their own work will enable them to gain a better understanding of the steps they need to take in order to address any areas that they may be weaker in.

Target-setting is common in most schools, and targets are normally set with input gathered from both teachers and pupils.

Many children will have some idea of their next steps but may have difficulty breaking these down into clear and tangible goals. If children practice editing and reviewing their work on a regular basis they will soon become familiar with the process of self-assessment.

Here a just a few ways that parents can support children to assess their work independently.

Two stars and a wish
Sarah Treneer and Claire Kendall, both Primary School teachers, have developed the 'two stars and a wish' strategy for children in their school, and the idea was later shown at the national audience at the Campaign for Learning network conference, as well as on Teachers TV.

Their research focused on the whole school impact of the tool, which requires pupils to outline two positive points about their work and one area to improve, and particularly focused on its use with Year 3 and 4 children.

They argued that extensive modelling of 'two stars and a wish' was needed so that children could give more precise assessments of their work, that moved away from comments such as 'Star: Neat handwriting, Wish: Write more next time'.

However, the overall impact of the technique was positive, with children becoming 'more reflective and will willingly and independently look back on their last piece of work to find some feedback from an adult or their peers'.

Success Criteria
When children write in a particular genre it may be helpful to give them a tick sheet, outlining the key success criteria that are needed to reflect that style successfully. Children can also add their own criteria and see how successfully they have met their objectives when they have finished their piece of work. Success criteria will also act as a prompt for children to include any criteria that they have missed out when they edit their work.