Read what a teacher says about this activity:

‘Two-way feedback is an activity which primary and secondary learners can use to self-assess. It’s a good activity for introducing self-assessment. You can also discover what your learners think about the activities. Although it may be confusing the first time they do it, learners can become more independent in the long term.’ 

Stage 1: Preparation 

Prepare a writing task for your learners and design a simple assessment form. For primary learners, include the can-do statements. For secondary learners, also include criteria

Example form for primary 

I can write about my best friend

My writing is … 

Very good [2 smiley face emojis] 

Good [1 smiley emoji] 

OK [1 neutral face emoji] 

This task was ...

Interesting [1 smiley face emoji] 

OK [1 neutral face emoji] 

Boring [1 sad face emoji] 

Example form for secondary 

I can write about the advantages and disadvantages of tourism. Place a cross (X) on the line. 
I wrote about two advantages and two disadvantages. No ----------¦---------- Yes
I wrote 4 paragraphs.  No ----------¦---------- Yes
I used linking words.  No ----------¦---------- Yes
I used a range of vocabulary.  No ----------¦---------- Yes
I checked spelling and punctuation and grammar No ----------¦---------- Yes
What I did well: 
Something I can improve next time: 
Teacher’s comments: 

Stage 2: Introduction   

When learners have completed the writing task, say: ‘Now you will assess your work.’ 

Primary/Secondary: Ask: ‘What is the can-do?’ (e.g. I can write about my best friend)  

Secondary: Ask: ‘What are the criteria?’ (e.g. write four paragraphs) 

Draw the form on the board. (Tip: Draw it on the board before the lesson and hide it with paper.) If you can, give them a printed copy of it. 

Tell learners to copy the form into their notebooks. (Tip: Learners can have a specific notebook for self-assessment, which you can take away and read.) 

Stage 3: Model 

Use the form on the board to model the activity. 

Primary: Ask: ‘Was the writing interesting? [smile] Yes? Tick this box. Was it OK? [make a face like you’re not sure] Tick this box. Boring? [look sad] Tick this box.’ 

Secondary: Ask: ‘Did you like this task? Put a mark on the line to show how much you liked it.’ Use a local language to explain if needed.  

Stage 4: Self-assessment 

Primary: Say: ‘Now look at your writing and tick the boxes.’ Circulate, support and give feedback.  

Secondary:  Say: ‘Now look at your writing. Place a mark on the line in the appropriate place. You have three minutes.’ You may need to explain in a local language. For example, if the learner wrote two paragraphs, they would put a mark in the middle. If they wrote three, the mark would be close to ‘yes’. Circulate and support but do not give feedback.  

When this is done, say: ‘Now look at the bottom. Think about what you did well and write a sentence. Also think about something you can improve next time and write a sentence. You have three minutes.’ Circulate and support but do not give feedback. 

Optional stage: Pair work 

Primary: Say: ‘Choose a partner. Look at each other’s work. Look at the box (very good, good, OK). Do you agree with your partner? Talk about it.’ Give them three minutes. Circulate, support and give feedback. 

Secondary: Say: ‘Choose a partner. Look at each other’s work. Look at each other’s self-assessment. What do you think? Do you agree with your partner? Discuss.’ Give them five minutes. Circulate and listen. 

Stage 5: Closing activity  

Primary: Ask two or three learners to summarise their discussions. You can use this feedback when planning future activities. 

Ask learners if they like using the form for self-assessment. Use this feedback to adapt the activity next time if necessary. 

Secondary: Tell learners to give you their forms. Say: ‘I’ll read your comments, then I’ll add mine at the bottom. You can then compare your assessment with mine.’ 

Ask learners how easy or difficult it was to self-assess. Tell them it will be easier if they do it more often.  

The next time your learners write a text, ask them to look at their self-assessment forms, and remember what they can improve. You can create the self-assessment form on the board together with your learners. 


Can-do: A can-do statement identifies what a learner should be able to do, e.g. introduce themselves or use the past simple. 

Circulate: To move around the classroom to check what learners are doing, and if they need any help. 

Criteria: The information or tool used to measure progress or understanding.    

Feedback: Information about how well a learner has done something. 

Model: Demonstrate so that learners understand what they have to do in a particular task.