Assessment as Learning: Student Self-Assessment During Math Lessons

Assessment as learning has to do with metacognition, which is simply “thinking about thinking.”  During assessment as learning, students would think about their own knowledge, learning, and thinking in order to gain a better understanding of how well they have attained concepts and they are now actively involved in their learning.  According to, “assessment as learning occurs when students are actively engaged in the assessment process; that is, they monitor their own learning, use assessment feedback from teacher, self, and peers to determine next steps, and set individual leaning goals.”

An important step in assessment as learning is the student’s understanding of the lesson and what they should be able to accomplish by the end of the lesson.  This is referred to as the learning goal.  Each lesson (or group of lessons) should have a learning goal that is written in student-friendly language.  For each learning goal, there should be a list explaining what meeting the learning goal looks like.  These are referred to as the success criteria and they too should be written in student friendly language. I prefer to use personal pronouns in the learning goals and success criteria to make them more personalized for my students. For example, the learning goal is usually written as “We are learning to…”, while the success criteria is then stated as “We can…”.

In math, we have developed a chart that is placed as the front page of each unit.  The same chart can be used for each chapter of math and this is where we record the learning goal for each period of instruction and the corresponding success criteria. 

I usually provide the learning goal in student-friendly language to my students at the beginning of the lesson.  After the lesson, we review what we have learned by developing the success criteria together.  I find that this is a great way to wrap up the lesson and summarize the key concepts.  The only drawback is that this does take quite a bit of time. The first few times I did this with my class, it took almost 30 minutes and it really cut into the math work period.  I really started to doubt whether this was a good idea, but with practice, my students became more efficient at reviewing the key concepts and recording them as success criteria.  I also record the learning goal and success criteria as an anchor chart for easy review.

learning goals for math

After students complete their homework and assignments for each particular learning goal, they then reflect on how well they understood the concept, how well they did on the homework/assessments, and they consider their next steps.  When students have these sheets on their desks, it is very easy to circulate through the room and determine how well students understood the lesson based on their choice of happy/sad face.  If many students choose the sad face, then I know that I need to review this concept further with my class (which then becomes assessment for learning for the teacher).

By clicking on the image above, you’ll be brought to the pdf so that you can use this chart with your own students.  It works very well and it is a great way for students to be actively engaged in their learning.

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