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 teaches and directs programs on critical thinking, reflective practice, and science-in-society at the University of Massachusetts Boston. He studies the complexity of environmental and health sciences in their social context as well as innovation in teaching, group process, and interdisciplinary collaboration (see He is especially interested in conversations with others who are, in diverse ways, "troubled by heterogeneity" (

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