Student involvement in assessment can be defined broadly as any action students take to gather, interpret, and act on information about their learning. Such actions include monitoring their own understanding during instruction; assessing their current achievement status; devising plans for next steps; offering peer feedback; and tracking, reflecting on, and sharing learning progress and achievement. Student-involved assessment practices acknowledge the centrality of the student as decision-maker in increasing learning: bringing students to competence in self-assessing and self-adjusting their performance effectively is crucial to improvement (Wiggins 1998) and to becoming independent learners. Student-involved assessment is considered by some experts to be a component of formative assessment and to be the whole of formative assessment by others.

Research studies have repeatedly linked student-involved assessment practices to benefits such as enhanced metacognitive skills, strengthened self-efficacy beliefs, and increased achievement. Prerequisites to involvement in assessment that is designed to benefit students include understanding the intended learning goal (or target) that they are striving to master and the degree of quality they are expected to demonstrate. Another prerequisite is that students have experience of receiving and acting upon effective feedback, which models for them the kind of evaluative thinking they need to do when making their self-assessments.