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Introduction to Self-assessment

Please, read our introductory text about self-assessment. It is important to develop a good understanding of why self-assessment is important for it to have a good effect.

Elever sitter rundt pult i klasserom. Foto.

How would you describe yourself as a language learner? Are you active or passive in class? What about your motivation? Do you know your strengths and weaknesses? Do you know which steps you have to take in order to improve your English? These are questions you, as a language learner need to ask yourself. Language learning is much like building a house: you add brick by brick and you need a good foundation for the house to become solid. Just like a building contractor needs to know his trade, you need to know what to do in order to best develop your English.

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For most of us, learning a foreign language is a lengthy process, and at times it can be difficult to keep your motivation up. As a student it is easy to slip into a passive state of learning: you follow instructions from the teacher without question, do your tests and get them back ready marked and with a few comments. Often it is difficult to see any clear progress and the result is frequently lack of motivation. And lack of motivation, as we know, often leads to low performance.

We know that only active and responsible students become good language learners. So, how should we define "an active and responsible" student? Is this a person who always does his homework or volunteers to clean the blackboard? Someone who is always obedient and follows the teacher's instructions? Not necessarily. A responsible learner is not the same as a teacher's pet. Being active and responsible in the classroom means that you understand that your own efforts are crucial to progress in learning, and that you behave accordingly. It means doing your homework and being active in class - not because you want to please the teacher, but because you know that making an effort is the only way to learn something. Also, it means that you are able to reflect on your own work and always try to set new goals for yourself.

And this is where self-assessment comes into the picture. Self-assessment is when you judge the quality of your work, based on already known criteria, with the aim of always improving the result. It is important to note that self-assessment is not the same as "grading yourself"; that is still the work of the teacher. In self-assessment we are primarily interested in the process of learning, not so much the finished product itself. If you are able to find out what you are learning and how you are learning it, you have taken a big step towards becoming a responsible language learner.

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