It's that conferencing-with-parents time of year. Just buckled down to go over all my kids' recent work, to read the questionnaires I sent to parents about their goals for their children, and then turned to the students' own self-evaluations. I learned so much about the kids, things I wouldn't know otherwise.

I'm amazed at how much the students know about themselves--and also amazed at how students grow in personal insight when self-reflection is expected of them. Students I had last year write so much in response to my questions that they often have to append pages onto my original form. Students who come to me from teachers who use self-evaluation are far more expressive, reflective, and able to see their progresses than students who have never before encountered self-evaluations.

So it occurred to me to start a discussion here about use of self-evaluations. I'd like to know in particular what questions on self-evaluations have proved in your experience to be especially illuminating about a student's view of him/herself. Always looking for good questions. I find it hard to be just specific enough--not too broad, not too narrow. I've used a survey-research design called the "hourglass" that starts and ends with open-ended questions, and gets narrow and specific in the middle. Are there other designs or forms that you've used that work well? What are some really good questions? (You can put on your "parent hat" or "student hat" too: what questions do you WISH the teacher would ask?)

Tags: pedagogy, self-evaluation

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