Self-assessment on completing a project or a program of study

The assessment, which is adaptable to any project of research and engagement, addresses two sets of goals:

  • My Product [e.g. project report or final capstone paper or thesis] Shows That…
  • Developing as a Reflective Practitioner

For each goal you describe one example of

    • a) something that reflects what you have achieved well related to this goal, and
    • b) something you have struggled with/ need more help on/ want to work further on.

(Even though you may have many examples for some items, one is enough.)

I. “My Product Shows That…”

A. I can convey who I want to influence/affect concerning what (Subject, Audience, Purpose).

B. I know what others have done before, either in the form of writing or action, that informs and connects with my project, and I know what others are doing now.

C. I have teased out my vision, so as to expand my view of issues associated with the project, expose possible new directions, clarify direction/scope within the larger set of issues, and decide the most important direction.

D. I have identified the premises and propositions that my project depends on, and can state counter-propositions. I have taken stock of the thinking and research I need to do to counter those counter-propositions or to revise my own propositions.

E. I have clear objectives with respect to product, both written and practice, and process, including personal development as a reflective practitioner. I have arranged my work in a sequence (with realistic deadlines) to realize these objectives.

F. I have gained direct information, models, and experience not readily available from other sources.

G. I have clarified the overall progression or argument underlying my research and the written reports.

H. My writing and other products Grab the attention of the readers/audience, Orient them, move them along in Steps, so they appreciate the Position I’ve led them to.

I. I have facilitated new avenues of classroom, workplace, and public participation.

J. To feed into my future learning and other work, I have taken stock of what has been working well and what needs changing.

II. Developing as a Reflective Practitioner, Including Taking Initiatives in and Through Relationships
1. I have integrated knowledge and perspectives from [my program of study] into my own inquiry and engagement in social and/or educational change.

2. I have also integrated into my own inquiry and engagement the processes, experiences, and struggles of previous courses.

3. I have developed efficient ways to organize my time, research materials, computer access, bibliographies, etc.

4. I have experimented with new tools and experiences, even if not every one became part of my toolkit as a learner, teacher/facilitator of others, and reflective practitioner.

5. I have paid attention to the emotional dimensions of undertaking my own project but have found ways to clear away distractions from other sources (present & past) and not get blocked, turning apparent obstacles into opportunities to move into unfamiliar or uncomfortable territory.

6. I have developed peer and other horizontal relationships. I have sought support and advice from peers, and have given support and advice to them when asked for.

7. I have taken the lead, not dragged my feet, in dialogue with my advisor and other readers. I didn’t wait for the them to tell me how to solve an expository problem, what must be read and covered in a literature review, or what was meant by some comment I didn’t understand. I didn’t put off giving my writing to my advisor and other readers or avoid talking to them because I thought that they didn’t see things the same way as I do.

8. I have revised seriously, which involved responding to the comments of others. I came to see this not as bowing down to the views of others, but taking them in and working them into my own reflective inquiry until I could convey more powerfully to others what I’m about (which may have changed as a result of the reflective inquiry).

9. I have inquired and negotiated about formal standards, but gone on to develop and internalize my own criteria for doing work [e.g., criteria other than jumping through hoops set by the professor so I get a good grade].

10. I have approached the final project and the Program of study/Organization in which I work as works-in-progress, which means that, instead of harboring criticisms to submit after the fact, I have found opportunities to affirm what is working well and to suggest directions for further development.

(Adapted from the Exit Self-assessment for the Critical & Creative Thinking Graduate Program, which, in turn, is based on the goals of the Processes of Research and Engagement course.)


About Peter J. Taylor
Peter Taylor is a Professor at the University of Massachusetts Boston where he teaches and directs undergraduate and graduate programs on critical thinking, reflective practice, and science-in-society. His research and writing focuses on the complexity of environmental and health sciences in their social context, incl. Unruly Complexity: Ecology, Interpretation, Engagement (U. Chicago Press, 2005) and Nature-nurture? No (2014, On reflective practice, see Taking Yourself Seriously: Processes of Research & Engagement (with J. Szteiter, 2012,

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