Sarah, a Spanish teacher who has been using some of our self-assessment tools for students (such as the Independent Reading Rubric, the Interpersonal Communication Self-Assessment, this Higher Level Thinking Assessment Example, and this Higher Level Thinking Book Report Example) writes:

Hi Bryce,

Do you put the self assessment in the gradebook as participation points? Also, my students were complaining that if it’s a self assessment then why do I change the points. I change the points because their behavior in class doesn’t reflect the points they give themselves.

Great questions. Here’s what I’m thinking:


If your school system allows participation points you can record the scores there. Some schools do not allow scores for behavior or participation. Both the title and the assessment are designed to fit with ACTFL’s three modes of communication: interpretive, presentational and interpersonal. Teachers grade interpretive communication with tests over listening and reading all the time.

Presentational communication is commonly graded when students write essays and deliver prepared speeches, dialogues, or stories.

But the interpersonal mode of communication is rarely scored, but it is as important as the other two — and in my opinion, even more so.

The Interpersonal Communication Self-Assessment is a step in that direction, and a tool for teachers to use. The way students conduct themselves in class undeniably impacts the quantity and quality of interpersonal communication  on both the personal and whole-class level.


We want students to reflect on their own behavior. This is one of the highest forms of thinking and we want to encourage that. We also want to know their own perception of how they are behaving and interacting with others in the classroom. But student opinions are not the end. Here’s why:

1) Perspective: The teacher has perspective across other classes and across time and therefore has a more accurate knowledge of how students should act in order to get the most out of class.

2) Responsibility: Teachers can change points to match with students’ observed behavior because they are responsible for the class.

3) Inaccurate Perceptions: Some students’ perceptions of how they behave does not match reality. The adjustment of the score by the teacher can help them to get a better grasp on how others see them. It can help them with their life. It’s part of growing up.

4) Dishonesty: Some students lie. Most students, likely 80%, will be accurate and truthful. About 10% will be too hard on themselves and the teacher will rightfully raise their self-assessment grade. Another 10%, maybe 1-3 students per class, will be way too easy on themselves and their scores will need to be lowered to make the grade correspond with reality and meaningful. Let them know (kindly) that when they flounder, there’s always next week!

How does this sound to you?  How would you adjust it?