The purpose of self-assessment is to shift ownership of the learning process from the subject matter expert to the student. Self-assessment can be utilized at all stages of the learning process. Before a lesson, self-assessment helps the student activate prior knowledge. During a lesson, self-assessment helps students review what they understand and what they hope to understand by the end of the lesson. After completion of an assignment, self-assessment can be used to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the work. Subject matter experts can use the self-assessment as part of their assessment.

Best practices

  • When requiring students to self-assess their own work, instructor must provide students with detailed criteria for the assignment in order to increase effectiveness of this activity (best practice: rubric).
  • Feedback from instructor will help students adjust their self-assessment to align with SME’s expectations.
  • Self-assessments of assignments can be included as a cover sheet requiring students to respond to self-assessment prompts (for example):
    • What is strong, or what went well with this assignment? Provide examples.
    • What do you think is weak about this assignment?
  • Self-assessment can be as simple as a Discussion Board set up for content questions
  • Self-assessment can take the form of an online chat or conference


  • Kulkarni, C., Wei, K. P., Le, H., Chia, D., Papadopoulos, K., Cheng, J., … & Klemmer, S. R. (2015). Peer and self assessment in massive online classes. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction, 20(6), 131-168.doi:
    • Research showing that students assessed their own grades slightly higher than grades assigned by staff. However, after moderate feedback, students’ self-assessment became more closely aligned with staff assessment.
  • Vonderwell, S. K., & Boboc, M. (2013). Promoting formative assessment in online teaching and learning. TechTrends57(4), 22-27. doi: 10.1007/s11528-013-0673-x
    • Article describes how instructors can use self-assessment tools to help diagnose areas that need to be reviewed.
  • Ćukušić, M., Garača, Ž., & Jadrić, M. (2014). Online self-assessment and students’ success in higher education institutions. Computers & Education72, 100-109. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2013.10.018
    • This article demonstrates the effectiveness of self-assessment by comparing students’ results in classes utilizing self-assessment versus classes not utilizing self-assessment.
  • Fastré, G. M., van der Klink, M. R., Sluijsmans, D., & van Merriënboer, J. J. (2012). Drawing students’ attention to relevant assessment criteria: Effects on self-assessment skills and performance. Journal of Vocational Education & Training64(2), 185-198. doi: 10.1080/13636820.2011.630537
    • This article highlights one way to increase the effectiveness of self-assessment by making students aware of the criteria of assessment.
  • Dochy, F. J. R. C., Segers, M., & Sluijsmans, D. (1999). The use of self-, peer and co-assessment in higher education: A review. Studies in Higher education,24(3), 331-350. doi: 10.1080/03075079912331379935
    • This research looked at 63 studies covering the use and effective of self-assessment in higher education. The researcher found that students perceived self-assessment as being valuable and fair.