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Peer and self-assessment in PSE

Personal and Social Education

Peer and self-assessment in PSE

In one secondary school, as part of a whole school approach to Assessment for Learning, peer and self-assessment have become an integral aspect of PSE in Key Stage 3. Learners are encouraged to reflect on their skill development and understanding of topics covered. Strategies successfully used include:

  • peer-marking
  • talk partners
  • think-pair-share
  • traffic lighting
  • writing journals.

The school has found that for peer and self-assessment to work effectively learners must practise and be skilled in group work. Therefore prior learning has involved each form group agreeing their ground rules for group work which are displayed in classrooms as a reminder. Developing peer and self-assessment skills has also involved sharing learning goals with learners and determining and agreeing success criteria. Learners need to be ‘coached’ initially in both working with others and questioning skills. The PSE teaching team have received training in Assessment for Learning strategies enabling them to effectively model questioning techniques. Peer assessment has been a valuable learning experience. Dialogue between learners has been encouraged. Conversations take place in a language that learners themselves naturally use. If learners do not understand an explanation, they are more likely to interrupt a peer than they would challenge a teacher. Learners have also been more willing to accept criticisms of their work from one another. Increasingly they welcome immediate feed back from peers about how improvements could be made, for example, receiving feedback after group or individual presentations.

Links with the PSE framework


Learners are given opportunities to review their learning, and analyse personal strengths and weaknesses. They also have real opportunities to develop their communication skills such as:

  • listening attentively in different situations and responding appropriately
  • communicating personal feelings and views with confidence.


Developing peer and self-assessment in PSE addresses the 'Preparing for lifelong learning' theme. Learners are given opportunities to:

  • value their achievements and be committed to lifelong learning
  • take personal responsibility for actions and decisions related to learning.

Future plans

The school hopes to introduce peer and self assessment into the Key Stage 4 PSE programme. Feedback from learners will also be used to inform the future teaching of PSE.

More information about the ‘Developing Thinking Skills and Assessment for Learning: Development Programme’ and downloadable bilingual resources are available from

Related Links

The PSE framework provides the foundation for a broad, balanced holistic approach to PSE.