Using Checklists to Develop Students' Self-Assessment Skills

Decorative: A line drawing of a checklist on a clipboard


"Using Checklists to Develop Students' Self-Assessment Skills" (post) suggests the use of checklists (rubrics also work well) to help students "make accurate judgments about one’s work ... an important professional skill."

A. The Problem

  • "[A]cademic writing is a new experience for most students and beyond that not all academic writing is the same."
  • "[M]ost disciplines have their own conventions and protocols that students are expected to understand and use in their work."
  • "With lots of content to cover, faculty don’t always have time to teach students the preferred style guide of the discipline and that leaves students the somewhat daunting task of figuring out the rules on their own."
  • Students "have to be able to look critically at their own work, identify mistakes, and then fix them." 
  • "[H]aving [a checklist] eliminates the necessity of pointing out the same error on [assignment after assignment]. Finding and fixing errors becomes a student responsibility."
  • "They are being told what they need to do—they just need to do it and do it consistently."

B. Best Practices

  • "[S]tar[t] with an analysis of the mistakes students frequently make ... [for] core checklist items."
  • "[I]dentif[y] the characteristics, features, and conventions that need to be used in the lab report [or assignment]."
  • Follow "each item on the checklist ... with a space in which students copied something from their lab report [or assignment] that illustrated how they’d accomplished what the checklist described."
  • "[D]emonstrate use of the checklist in class or online and offer some feedback as students are developing their self-assessment skills."

C. Some Tools to Use/Adapt for Use with Students

D. See Also

Weimer, Maryellen. "Using Checklists to Develop Students' Self-Assessment Skills." The Teaching Professor December 3, 2018.

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