Towards Autonomous Assessment:
Using Self-Assessment and
Involving students in their own assessment is increasing and there are many different forms and varieties. Self-assessment and peer assessment are often talked of simultaneously in the literature of the field as if they were the same thing and pursuing the same goals. Not only are self-assessment and peer assessment not unitary ideas, there are some important differences between them which have significantly different consequences for the educative process and, in particular, for the ways in which and whether power and authority are shared, control is shifted and whether the student is led to develop the skills of independent, autonomous judgement. In view, therefore, of the growing importance of self-assessment and peer assessment, it is necessary to be able to discriminate between different types and approaches to avoid the confusion which exists because a single term has been used to refer to many practices, some of which are incompatible. There is a need to be clear about what aspects of self-assessment and peer assessment contribute to what kinds of learning.
The defining characteristic of self-assessment has been expressed as:
the involvement of students in identifying standards and/or criteria to
apply to their work and making judgements about the extent to which
they have met these criteria and standards.
(Boud 1991: 5)
This reflects the two elements of any assessment process: the identification of standards related to specific criteria and the making of judgements based on them.