Looking into a mirror for a critical inspection, we do it many times a day. No harm in knowing how we are doing. It is a private thing and we do not allow many others to know what we know, unless of course we have a “trusted other” who may peek: “Mirror, mirror on the wall who is the most fairy of them all”. There is a painting by Manet of Olympia, a goddess of beautiful perfection showing how she waves aside a mirror that is handed to her. She knows she is perfect, no need for further assessment. But we mortals alas need to be informed how we are doing. A Trusted Other is more than welcome.
And there are helping agents who are willing to hold a mirror. The study cited found that more than 90% of the teachers supported student self-assessment and were willing to deploy it in their classrooms. This is an exceptionally positive outcome, and according to the authors a reassuring finding for fostering learning in students. Such a high favoritism on part of teachers for self-assessment needs to be explained and the article gives 5 plausible backgrounds: (1) positive experience, (2) high belief in students, (3) willingness to include, (4) advantages and (5) attending courses.
Still the feeling remains: why are teachers so positive? What is it that brings them to embrace it. It cannot be that students are doing their job, i.,e. assessing grades. Or that teachers get tired of pointing out the same defects in study behaviors over and over again. There must be a deeper level to the self-reports explaining why. I can only guess, but it must have something to do with the teaching profession itself, since almost all teachers in the survey agree. Probably it has to do with being a pedagogue (1) , a trusted other whose main incentive it is to foster understandings, to hold a mirror. I wonder if it was not apparent somewhere in the self reports: the pride of teaching.
Teachers’ reasons for using self-assessment: a survey self-report of Spanish teachers
Ernesto Panadero, Gavin Brown & Matthew Courtney
In: Assessment in Education Principles, Policy & Practice, 21:4, 365-383,
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0969594X.2014.919247