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Self-assessment techniques in language learning

If you are teaching or learning English through an organisation such as Skola, you may be interested in discovering different assessment techniques. Self-assessment in education helps students to become more motivated, as they are in charge of setting achievable goals and monitoring their own personal progress.

Below are some examples of self-assessment techniques that can be used in language learning:

Self-assessment techniques

Use progress cards

Progress cards or checklists are a good way to start the transition from formal assessment to self-assessment, as the teacher and student work together. The student decides on a series of short-term achievable goals and then ticks them off when he or she feels that they have been mastered.

The teacher then signs off in a separate column when the work has been observed, thereby checking that the student is being honest about the achievement.

Record confidence levels with a rating scale

Rating scales allow students to record their confidence in their ability by responding to a statement with a numerical grade, for example, ‘1’ might express complete agreement and ‘5’ complete disagreement.

By returning to the same rating chart throughout the course, students will be able to record their increases in confidence, as well as making their teacher aware of where they think their weaknesses lie.


Fill out a questionnaire

Questionnaires allow students to give a fuller articulation of where their strengths and weaknesses are. Rather than just checking off an achievement box, they can let their teacher know in more detail how confident and happy they are with their progress. It also allows the student to raise any issues they have with the teaching environment.

Write a learner diary

Writing a learner diary is a great way to monitor progress and to look back and realise how much you have achieved. It also allows students to look to the future, as they can record their goals, as well as what they plan to do with the language skills they are acquiring.

Film your progress

Increase the learning potential of a learner diary by turning it into a film. This can be a fun activity where students interview one another about their thoughts on their learning experience, or a more personal project, where students document their day-to-day thoughts on their goals, their achievements and their struggles.

Students can also use this to personally assess their language skills. For example, students learning English through Skola schools can film themselves conversing in English and then watch it back and write down well they thought they used body language, accent, vocabulary, etc.

Film your progress


Useful links

Karen’s Linguistics Issues

Some suggested techniques on how to use self-assessment in the classroom


The Centre for Language, Linguistics and Area Studies’ handbook on assessment methods


The NCLRC’s guide to essential language learning techniques