Every success story is different.

Richard Branson was a dyslexic child who struggled in school whose net worth is now at 4.8 billion dollars. Steve Jobs was a free spirit and college drop-out who went on to revolutionize the computer industry. Oprah Winfrey went from the very depths of poverty and abuse to a multi award-winning talk show host, actress, producer and philanthropist. What do these stories have in common? Many would say perseverance, ambition, confidence… But without regular self-assessment and reflection, our stories, extraordinary or not, never reach their full potential. While important in every aspect of life and careers, self-assessment is particularly relevant to education. Both educators and students need to self-assess regularly, whether to figure out how they learn best, or to pin-point where they’re struggling. Equipped with this essential skill, students can prepare themselves for 21st century life, where this is the only assessment that matters.

1. Where am I now?

The art of self-assessment begins and ends with questioning. By finding out where you are in terms of reaching your goals, you can determine key factors that are hindering or driving your success. Using real-time analytics to track progress and performance, learning platforms like Fishtree are changing paradigms by giving students a bigger picture of where they are. These insights provide students with key information on their learning habits that they can use to their advantage, setting more realistic goals, and motivating themselves to succeed.

2. Where do I want to be?

Students are often told where they should be, setting misguided and unrealistic expectations of all students reaching the same objectives, at the same time. With the understanding that no two students are alike, the necessity for students to ask themselves this question becomes clear. Using learning analytics, both students and teachers gain a deeper understanding of what it has taken for them to reach this point, and so the end goals may evolve to cater to the needs of each student.

3. How do I get there?

Analyzing how long it takes to reach an objective, what kind of resources prove particularly effective, and what tools they have at their disposal, students become drivers of their own success. Constructing personalized pathways to their goals, students using adaptive learning systems are continuously supported in their efforts. Using their innate problem-solving and critical thinking skills, they develop invaluable skills for the 21st century workplace, while gaining the confidence to engage in self-paced, self-driven learning.

Regular self-assessment plants the seed for a growth mindset, and promotes lifelong learning as the key to success. With a visual description of their learning paths in an environment that’s responsive and personalized, students can embark on their own success stories, with the understanding that it’s good to be different.

Like what you’ve read? Let your students know it’s good to be different with the 21st century learning platform, bringing personalized instruction to every classroom.

About the author:


Lorna Keane specializes in language teaching and has taught in second and third-level institutions in several countries. She holds a B.A in languages and cultural studies and an M.A in French literature, theory and visual culture. Follow her on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn.

Image credits: Nastya Birdy / CC BY 2.0