Self-Judgement and Reflection

Return - | Facilitator: @mGuhlin

Learn how self-judgement and reflection is a critical component of independent, self-directed learning. In this session, learn how to cultivate in students how to apply established standards to their own work. Known as self-judgement, research has shown the importance of a student’s ability to reflect on her work, discern its relationship to established standards, and decide its worth.

What the Research Says

With an effect size of 0.75 (as of John Hattie's latest research), Self-judgement and Reflection have the potential to considerably accelerate student achievement. It occurs when:

  • Students track their progress to maximize learning potential.

  • Take ownership of their data

Research offers two more tips:

1) Cultivate metacognitive knowledge instruction in students.

2) Use self-developed tests more than intervention-independent tests.

Strategies for Students

Here are a few strategies curated from across the web. Each offers a strategy for empowering students to engage in Self-judgement and Reflection. What are some of the ways you encourage students to reflect on their learning?

1-Create Capacity Matrices or Learning Target Cards

Marine, Tales from a Very Busy Teacher, shares her insights on creating learning target cards. Her goal is to make learning targets as visible as possible. As you might suppose, this combines with Teacher Clarity strategy, which seeks to ensure students understand what the learning objective(s) is/are.

"...self-assessment tickets help students self reflect and self regulate while they’re learning. I call them “Learning Target Tickets” with my students. They’re pretty simple to use and be used for any lesson, in any content area." (source)

Marine offers these tips for using these "learning target tickets:

  • After the engagement activity or attention grabber, state the learning objective

  • Ask students to write it down on their tickets then self-assess their level of learning in the "before lesson" column. This is a capacity matrix with the added innovation of before lesson/after lesson/teacher analysis rows on the side.

  • When the lesson ends, ask students to rate their grasp of content in the after lesson column

  • Ask students to write a short reflection on the lesson

Afterwards, you could ask students to share their biggest growth area or reflection via audio (e.g. Vocaroo, Mote), or video (e.g. Flipgrid).

2-Create Self-Assessment Bins

Want a quick way to find out if students need assistance? They could fill out a ticket and turn it in as a self-assessment. Here's how Marine describes it:

Students turn in their work into one of these bins depending on their level of understanding. It does take a lot of positive culture building, as well as trust, to help students feel comfortable when turning in their work to these bins.

After the first few weeks of school, students know the system and feel confident when turning in their work. It also makes grading a lot easier, as well as pulling students back for small group reteach or extension.

As you can see, Marine relies on the cards to structure reteach groups or get ideas for lesson extensions.

3-Chalk Talk Activity

Chalk Talk is a silent way to reflect, generate ideas, check on learning, develop projects, or solve problems. It can be used productively with any group—students, faculty, workshop participants, committees. Done in silence, it encourages students to engage in thoughtful contemplation.


  1. Explain that Chalk Talk is a silent activity (no speaking at all). Students learn they can write comments on others' ideas, draw connecting lines from comment to another's idea, or respond to questions.

  2. Facilitator writes a question on board, then circles it. See sample questions below.

  3. All students have a way of writing on "Chalk Board."

  4. Facilitator can interact by circling other interesting ideas, inviting comments, or writing questions/reflections about other content on board

Sample Question Types

  • What did you learn today?

  • So what? Or now what?

  • What do you think about social responsibility and schooling?

  • How can we involve the community in the school, and the school in community?

  • How can we keep the noise level down in this room?

  • What do you want to tell the scheduling committee?

  • What do you know about Croatia?

  • How are decimals used in the world

This is a great activity for students to do individually, or adapt it for small groups where one student is the "recorder" sharing insights from their team. You can do it in isolation, giving each group their own chalkboard/whiteboard, or have a collective class-wide experience.

Finally, there are many electronic or online whiteboard solutions you can use. Or, rely on a graphic organizer/semantic mapping tool like Google Drawings, Slides, yED Live,, that allows for collaboration.

Three Digital Whiteboards

from Google, Microsoft, and

Need More Questions?

Looking for more questions? Consider these below, an excerpt of a longer question set:


  • What process did you go through to produce this piece?

  • In what ways have you gotten better at this kind of work?

  • What problems did you encounter while you were working on this piece? How did you solve them?

  • What resources did you use while working on this piece? Which ones were especially helpful? Which ones would you use again?


  • How do you feel about this piece of work? What parts of it do you particularly like? Dislike? Why? What did/do you enjoy about this piece or work?

  • What was especially satisfying/frustrating to you about either the process or the finished product?

  • Did you meet your standards? Did your goals for this product change?

  • What does that tell you about yourself and how you learn?


  • Did you do your work the way other people did theirs? In what ways did you do it differently? The same?

  • If you were the teacher, what comments would you make about this piece? What grade would you give it? Why?

  • In what ways did your work meet (and not meet) the standards for this assignment?


  • What would you change if you had a chance to do this piece over again?

  • What's the one thing that you have seen in your classmates' work or process that you would like to try in your next piece?

  • What things you might want more help with?

Strategies for Educators

Critical reflection can have a major impact on your growth and success as a teacher. The reason why is that the more you reflect, the deeper your understanding grows of your teaching style. Reflection can often enhance your ability to challenge traditional modes of practice, as well as become more effective as a teacher (source).

Reflective thinking leads educators to act deliberately and intentionally rather than randomly and reactively (source).

A Few Reflection Questions for Teachers


  • Did the students understand the overall lesson?

  • What were the students engaged/not engaged with in the lesson?

  • Did any problems arise during the lesson?

  • Were teacher instructions clear?

  • At what level was classroom participation?

  • How effective are certain teaching strategies?

  • What improvements can be made to enhance your teaching? (source)

Coaching Collaboration

  • What are some next steps for your teaching as a result of coaching?

  • Are there any challenges or missed opportunities?

  • How was student learning supported? (source)

  • Which of my goals did I achieve in the lesson?

  • What material did I successfully get across to the learners?

  • Which methods turned out to be useful for fostering learning?

  • Which media were useful for fostering learning?

  • How did I build relationships and trust so that learning could occur in a place where it is safe to make mistakes and learn from others?

Strategies for Reflection

  • Blog Your Reflections: This makes it possible for you to both construct your own understanding of children’s learning and connect with a larger audience of educators.

  • Coaching Collaborations: Engage with an instructional coach, conferencing with them before, during, and after.

Get the Outline and Choice Board!

Amazing Learning Design Online (ALDO),
a tool for guiding lesson design for diverse learners.

Use the choice board (right) to get you started on designing. It features four choices for each of the lesson design stages in ALDO.