Qualitative Assessment

Teachers also use a variety of methods for assessing work on Knowledge Forum qualitatively. These include self- and peer assessment, learning diaries, and portfolio notes.

Self and Peer Assessment


Peer assessment is particularly effective for

  • Increasing students’ motivation to discuss and learn
  • Helping students review and learn from the works of other
  • Helping students reflect more holistically on the collaborative knowledge building process of the whole community

Teachers may ask students to work in groups to

  • Summarise the KF discussion done by another group
  • Evaluate the quality of the discussion on various dimensions (e.g. quality of the ideas proposed, scaffolds used, questions raised, arguments used, new ideas generated, reference cited etc.)
  • Provide suggestions for improvement
  • Present the above in class


Learning diaries

Students write notes that records thoughts and insights about students’ own learning experience. This may encourage students to:

  • review and consolidate learning,
  • evaluate performance and gain insight of their own strengths and weaknesses as learners
  • plan future learning (and overcoming learning difficulties) based on past learning experience.
  • take charge of their own learning, and to develop into independent life- long learners.

Teachers may provide scaffolds, rubrics and guidelines to facilitate student’s reflective journal writing.


Teachers may provide some generic prompting questions, such as:

  • What have you learnt about topic ‘X’?
  • Why the referenced notes are important to your understanding of topic ‘X’?

These generic questions provide students the greatest freedom to ponder upon things that had the greatest personal significance.

Portfolio notes

By writing summary notes or portfolio notes in Knowledge Forum, students can:

  • analyse the inter-relatedness of the community’s ideas
  •  reflect on the knowledge building process that the learning community has experienced

Teachers may

  • use classroom talk – “KB Talk – to facilitate students’ reflection on their own inquiry process
  • let students discuss the criteria for good notes and good discussions
  • ask each student to write a portfolio note to reflect on the discussion and their own learning
  • assign seed students to be responsible for writing summary notes for different parts of the discussion (e.g. different phases, different subtopics)

The reference function, rise-above note, and workspace are all useful aids for writing of summary or portfolio note.