‘Self-assessment encourages students to be reflective about their learning, and helps to develop their skills in judging, and therefore improving, their work’ (p.150, Kear, 2011).

They become more aware of the gaps in their knowledge and understanding, providing them with feedback on areas to develop, and an opportunity to reflect upon the skills and experience they have gained.

Self-assessment can take a number of forms:

  • Reflective – where students reflect upon their learning experiences as well as the work they have produced.
  • Formative – where students use a tool to assess their skills, knowledge and understanding. This would also include formative feedback to direct the student on their strengths and areas for development.

Why would I use technology to help students assess themselves?

  • Quickly and easily capture and record their progress
  • Easily share their reflection with others (staff, peers, external networks)
  • Mobile devices can provide access to these tools in different places
  • Personal to the learner – providing them with information relevant to them and a space in which to express themselves
  • Self-assessment tests can instantly provide feedback to students (no marking and return time needed)
  • Tests can be re-used or updated more easily

How do I use technology to do this?

There are a number of tools which can be used to support formative self-assessment. These commonly include online quizzes, problem-based tests, initial assessments and psychometric tests. These automatically collate the student answers to a set of questions and then instantly provide the student with information about how they have done and areas for development.

There are also many tools which can be used to aid student reflection, with blogs and e-portfolios being the most common. These tools provide a personal space to collect together their thoughts, write about their experiences and provide links to evidence (samples of work, testimonials, images, videos, etc.) of their learning.

PebblePad – This ePortfolio tool can be used to provide a space for reflection for the student and can sit alongside other completed work all in one space.

Course Resources Journal – This is a reflective tool where students can post their thoughts onto the blog. This is a private blog only visible by the tutor and the student. A Course Resources Blog could be used to make this more open and share with other students on the module.

WordPress – This is an external blog tool where students can create posts of their reflections. These can be either private or open to the world.

Tests in Course Resources – this is a commonly used tool to collect information about the skills and knowledge of students, delivering a variety of different types of questions. Feedback on their answers can also be included as part of the question.


Kear, K. (2011) Online and Social Networking Communities: A Best Practice Guide for Educators, Abingdon, Routledge.