Assessment Through the Student’s Eyes

by Rick Stiggins


This reading is very useful for New Zealand school leaders. The New Zealand Curriculum emphasises that the purpose of assessment is to improve learning; the reading makes the point that students’ motivation to remain engaged with learning is enhanced when students are clear about assessment practices and purposes. The reading is also relevant to discussions about NCEA.

Stiggins reports on the impact of assessment on students, in terms of both their confidence as learners and their likelihood of future educational success. He presents some scenarios that describe ways in which teachers can enhance students’ learning through the forms of assessment that they use.

The material provides evidence of the impact of teachers who are professional problem solvers, who can select the most effective forms of assessment for their students.

By prioritising the student perspective and experience of assessment, and showing the significance of teachers’ decision-making and practices around assessment, the article makes its points very powerfully. It is a clear argument and easy to read, providing a great deal to provoke discussion and review of current school practices.

Reflective questions

These reflective questions might guide you in your reading of this article:

  • Use the scenarios to begin thinking about specific students or groups of students for whom your school’s current assessment practices are not working. How could you change aspects of your assessment to improve their learning outcomes?
  • With your leadership team, discuss ways in which you could gather the perspectives of students on their experiences of the assessment practices which operate in your school. How could you use that information to improve students’ motivation and learning outcomes?
  • Your whole school community, in particular the board and families, will be interested to know about any changes to your assessment principles and practices. Develop a plan for how you will involve them in the discussion, and how they can participate to support improved learning outcomes for your students.

Further reading

Black, P. & Wiliam, D. (October 1998). Inside the black box: Raising standards through classroom assessment. Phi Delta Kappa.


Stiggins, R. (May 2007). Assessment through the student’s eyes. Educational Leadership, 64(8), 22–26.

Tags: Leadership and NCEA

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