Since the Students at the Center (SATC) research paper Assessing Learning was released, the literature on student-centered assessment practices has continued to grow. More and more, schools, districts, and states are using assessment as an opportunity for growth and learning, as well as a way to elevate student voice and leadership.
This selection of resources includes articles, examples, and tools to help educators implement four types of classroom assessments that embrace the values of student-centered learning: self-assessment, peer assessment, portfolios, and exhibitions.
To learn more about the assessment systems needed at the district and state levels to support these classroom practices, check out 10 Principles for Building a High-Quality System of Assessments.
Self-assessment puts students in the driver seat and focuses attention on learning and growth. Through self-assessment students identify strengths and weaknesses in their own work and revise accordingly. Students compare their work to clear standards and generate feedback for themselves about where they need to make improvements.
The resources below provide a great introduction to self-assessment. They include:
- Ideas to help students assess and manage their own learning
- Examples of students using rubrics to self assess and tips for creating them
- A look at students breaking down standards and co-creating rubrics
- Tips for using technology to engage students in assessment
SATC Self-Assessment Guide
This short guide provides a detailed description of self-assessment and simple steps to implement in the classroom in support of student-centered learning. It includes sample rubrics and checklists.
Student-Centered Assessment Video Resources
These videos produced by SATC, in conjunction with Dr. Heidi Andrade, Ed.D. and the students and teachers from IS 223 (Brooklyn, New York), show student-centered assessment in practice. The first, second, and fourth videos feature self-assessment.
Developing “Assessment Capable” Learners
This article explores how to cultivate “assessment-capable learners” who are aware of their own progress and can navigate their learning paths. The authors provide examples of classroom practices to encourage, such as building motivation, goal setting, self-regulation, and feedback capabilities.
Mid-Project Rubric Review
In this video of a high school math class, students conduct self-analysis through a mid-project rubric review. They evaluate their current work on a project and discuss their progress with peers.
Authentic Assessments Video Playlist: Quality Assessment Rubric Video
These videos showcase formative assessment in action. Of particular interest is the video, “Quality Evidence Rubrics”, which features middleschool math students using a rubric to self-assess. The rubric is included as a resource.
5 of the Best Rubric Making Tools for Teachers
This blog article describes five online tools to help any teacher create their own rubrics. It also provides links to additional resources to learn more about rubrics.
How Do We Teach Kids to Assess Themselves?
This article provides tips and links to online tools to help any teacher start using self-assessment in their classroom. It includes a detailed section on rubrics. In addition it covers the use of portfolios, data notebooks, and graphic organizers for self-assessment.
Mom, Can You Pleeeease Record Me?
This article provides tips for using video for formative assessment. Video can be harnessed to help students demonstrate learning, track progress, and solicit feedback.The article also discusses how students can use video to self-assess noncognitive competencies such as effective communication.
Peer assessment engages students in the learning process while building collaboration and communication skills. Simply put, peer assessment consists of students giving informed feedback to one another. For effective peer assessment to exist, students must fully understand the standards being measured and participate in a constructive process of critique supported by a safe and open classroom culture.
The following tools, articles, and videos feature the main components of peer assessment. Resources include:
- Examples of peer assessment in action
- Instructions for using the ladder of feedback technique to guide peer interactions
- Ideas to help create the culture needed for open and honest peer feedback
SATC Peer Assessment Guide
This short guide gives a detailed description of peer assessment that supports a student-centered classroom. It includes tips for implementation.
Student-Centered Assessment Video Resources
These videos produced by SATC, in conjunction with Dr. Heidi Andrade, Ed.D. and the students and teachers from IS 223 (Brooklyn, New York), show student-centered assessment in practice. The first, third, and fourth videos feature peer assessment.
Authentic Assessments Video Playlist: Student-to-Student Assessment and Peer Conferencing
These videos showcase formative assessment in action. Of particular interest are the videos, Student-to-Student Assessment, which features middle school students working in small groups to review, revise, and reflect on homework and Peer Conferencing, which shows students using a rubric to self-assess quality of work in a math class.
Ladder of Feedback
This protocol/structure establishes a culture of trust and support by sequencing feedback in an order that is constructive. It can be used by students to provide peer feedback or by fellow educators observing each other’s classrooms.
Assessing their Own Work: Students as Active Participants
This video shows students working in groups to better understand learning standards. The teacher also discusses the importance of giving students ownership over assessment by letting them decide how they can demonstrate learning through self and peer assessments.
Want to Set Students Up for Success? Make Room for Vulnerability
This article, written by a student, describes the type of culture that allows students to give and receive feedback to each other openly and honestly to improve learning.
Portfolios document student growth from novice to master rather than only highlighting the “finish line” or final report. To begin, students determine their goals with their teacher and peers; select work to be included, whether in digital or hard copy format; and consider how each piece demonstrates progress toward those goals. Often called, “process”, “project”, or “learning” portfolios, these collections of learning celebrate not just mastery, but the journey of learning. Sometimes portfolios are presented to an authentic audience at an exhibition.
The resources listed below examine many of the key ideas behind process portfolios. They include:
- A look at students preparing portfolios and leading parent teacher conferences
- Ideas to ensure portfolios support student learning
- Tips and tools for creating and using digital portfolios
SATC Process Portfolio Assessment Guide
This short guide includes a detailed description of process portfolios, which include a curated set of artifacts that show growth over time. It also includes implementation tips.
In Charge: Student-Led Conferences at Pittsfield Middle High School
This video shows students in student-led parent conferences and in advisory group preparing for them. It explores how they select the artifacts to present during the conference in order to illustrate their learning process and growth, not only their achievement.
The Art of Reflection
This article offers guiding ideas on how to get the most out of portfolios. It explores how to ensure that portfolios support the process of student learning rather than simply cataloguing what has been learned.
10 Reasons Why You Should Implement Digital Student Portfolios
In this article a principal outlines the many advantages of using digital portfolios—online collections of learning artifacts intentionally curated to showcase a student’s accomplishments and growth over time—to support student-centered learning.
Top Picks: Student Portfolio Apps and Websites
This is a list of useful online tools and apps to help students compile digital portfolios. The reviews include detailed descriptions, ratings, pros and cons, and sample screen shots of the actual tool.
12 Educational Apps To Create Digital Portfolios
This article provides a list of apps to help students create digital portfolios. The author includes a short description of each, noting the features of and price for each app.
The Learning Portfolio Project
This website documents a pilot program in which Dream Yard school in NYC partnered with Parsons School for Design to implement student Learning Portfolios. The site documents teachers learning to support student development of portfolios as well as many samples of actual portfolios.
Exhibitions engage students through an authentic assessment experience that puts them at the center. An exhibition is a high-stakes demonstration of mastery that occurs at a culminating academic moment, such as the end of a school year or at graduation. Students select artifacts that demonstrate mastery and present them to a real audience. Exhibitions are summative assessments, but the process of building up to a final exhibition includes ongoing assessment, feedback, and revision. Some exhibitions feature artifacts students have been curating throughout the year in a learning portfolio.
The following resources provide an excellent overview of exhibitions as a summative tool, including:
- Case studies and examples of schools that use exhibitions
- Tips and tools to implement all types of authentic assessments
SATC Exhibitions Assessment Guide
This short guide includes a detailed description of exhibitions, which are summative in nature, but include deep thought and preparation over time. It also includes implementation tips.
What Does Deeper Learning Look Like? Video of City Arts and Technology School
This video features staff and students at City Arts and Education Technology School discussing their assessment system. It shows examples of students’ graduation portfolio defenses, a hallmark of their deeper learning assessment system.
Student-Centered Learning: Impact Academy
This case study of Impact Academy includes a great description of the major exhibitions and graduation defenses that are a key part of the school’s assessment system.
New York City’s School of the Future from Edutopia’s Schools That Work Series
This resource looks at how School of the Future conducts formative assessment to personalize and deepen learning. The resource includes links to tons of videos, articles, and resources/tools created and used by the school.
Resources for Assessment in Project-Based Learning
This is a compilation of resources to support the development of high-quality, authentic assessments of any learning project. In addition to research, the list includes links to help teachers include quality formative assessment as well as consider standardized tests when using project-based learning.
Exhibits: Models of Excellence
Through video, pictures, interviews, and articles; this virtual exhibit showcases 10 class projects students have designed to make a difference in their communities. The projects all feature authentic demonstration of learning in culminating activities, including publication of a book, presentation to local government, and product demonstration at a national science fair.