Lewandowski (2005) maintains that it is impossible to create “successful schools” and build the foundations for “optimal learning” without holding students accountable for their own education. Stiggins & Chappuis report that there is research evidence available to support the theory that student-involved assessment raises the grades of low academic achievers in particular, thereby narrowing the achievement gap between students.
Stiggins & Chappuis present various explanations for this phenomenon. Student-involved assessment raises the confidence level of students – an absolute necessity for high academic achievement. Moreover, it raises the motivation level of students – of the essence, especially for low academic achievers, who had previously relied on their teachers’ assessments and developed beliefs about their own abilities based on those (Stiggins & Chappuis).
Indeed, student-involved assessment makes partners of students in the assessment process, allowing them to define “the criteria by which their work will be judged (Stiggins & Chappuis, p. 3). ” Monitored by their teachers, students involved in the assessment process also get to gather their teachers’ “vision of their academic success (Stiggins & Chappuis, p. 3). ” Because academic failure is inevitable at times, Stiggins & Chappuis write that success is defined by long-term growth in an academic setting.
When students are able to chart their academic progress through student-involved assessment, they are able to reflect on their growth, thereby gaining “a sense of control over their own learning (Stiggins & Chappuis, p. 3). ” When they can share their academic progress with other learners, they are also able to develop an “internal sense of responsibility” for their academic success (Stiggins & Chappuis, p. 3). Thus, student-involved assessment acts as a powerful tool to build confidence in learners, thereby improving their academic abilities and raising their grades at the same time.