Leveled Self-Assessment

Students self-assess their level of mastery and identify next steps for learning
158 teachers like this strategy

About This Strategy

In Leveled Self-Assessment, learners use levels of mastery of a given objective, unit, assessment to self assess. The process of having the multiple levels, and thinking about their place within it, helps them to understand where they are at, and where they need to go.  Self assessment around mastery allows learners to identify their skill gaps and strengths, track their progress, and leads, critically in this domain, to their ability to decide on a path change, advocate for support, and set goals. This strategy works for any classroom, with modifications (like emoji self assessment for early elementary).  

Implementation Steps

20 minutes
  1. Create your student-friendly objective or competency standard that learners will self assess on (i.e. I can add fractions with unlike denominators)

  2. Create 3-4 levels of mastery within the objective; these can be content specific (i.e. Level 1:  I can only add fractions with like denominators) or general based on overall feeling (i.e. Level 1: I can't really get started on this!)

  3. Share the levels with learners, so they understand (for some situations, it can even work to put an example of work or understanding at that level - Coaching students through the why and process of self assessment is the most often skipped step

  4. Give learners the time to self assess at many different times, at the beginning of a lesson to set them up to know what they are striving for, at the end to chart their growth and identify next steps, or before an assessment to compare their thinking to the result.  

  5. Go deeper with self-assessment by leading it to goal setting, formal assessment, and peer consultancies, among much more.

Before Practice

Before students practice teachers should differentiate the supports or tasks learners are doing, based on their leveled self assessment.  

Implementation steps

1. The self assessment here is leveled not based on just language of understanding, but on actual tasks

  • For example:

    • Level 1:  Watch the Video

    • Level 2:  Work with a Partner...et

2. Afterwards, the debrief and reflection can be centered around if the task was at the appropriate level (still a challenge, but not overwhelming)

Coach Tips

Daniel Guerrero
BetterLesson Instructional Coach

In a leveled self-assessment, the focus often turns to the action of students actually picking their level.  However, spend some time with them before they actually pick having them try and identify what the levels might be first.  This builds understanding and investment in the levels themselves over time.

Tech Tool


  • Plickers is a tech tool that lets teachers collect real-time formative assessment data without the need for student devices. Students are handed cards with a different symbol on each side. Each side represents one out of 4 possible answers. The teachers scans the group with a smartphone or a tablet and instantly get data on a specific question.

  • Plickers supports self-assessments by creating the possibility of making them private and less threatening for students than hand signals. Only the teacher can by this method have access to the different groups created and it can encourage students to self-assess more accurately. It also creates automatically a record that teachers can compare to their own formative assessment data to ensure that students are accurately using this practice. It opens the door to 1:1 and group discussions when gaps are identified between self and formative assessments.