Self-assessment for the Improvement of Practice

Cards for Democracy
Published on
October 10, 2016
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This is why this article proposes simple ways to move forward with self-assessment.

  • Many professionals have counterparts to help with self-assessments (for example, counselors, supervisors, peers). Educators on the other hand often work in isolation. Self-assessment can then become the basis for “breaking the solitude of the teacher/facilitator”.
  • The institutional system in which educators operate may hinder self-reflection. Because curriculum, pedagogy, etc. are institutionally driven, public (but also private) educational systems tend to put teachers in a disempowering position to “deliver what they are told”. This contributes to the development of a ‘psychological state’ that counters emancipation, professional growth and personal responsibility.
  • Beginners in particular tend to have little support. Years after they have worked it out on their own, they may be inspected and assessed by the institution. This can lead to resentment and resistance to assessment with a sense of: “You didn’t help me when I needed you and now you come to inspect me?!”

All the above can create boredom and lack of agency. Self-assessment activities are here seen as ways to regain agency.

The activities we present here:

  • support teachers to ‘find their mission’;
  • help teachers reflect on their values, beliefs, thoughts and feelings;
  • allow for teachers to observe whether, and to what extent, they are living their values through their teaching practice;
  • empower teachers to be more aware of what they project as persons when they are teaching.


Traffic lights discusses how self-assessment and peer support tools are being used successfully in the classroom to improve the learning experience. It offers a handy technique called the “traffic system” for quick self-assessment. Interestingly, even students’ self-assessments have been shown to become more accurate with practice.

A useful Resource

The Purpose of Reflective Practice introduces us to different models of reflective practice and how these can be applied in different scenarios.

Authors: Natasa Beric, Vivian Chiona, Sophia Deria
Maria McNamara and Pascale Mompoint-Gaillard 


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