Reflective practice assignment

Reflection is a difficult skill to master, and along with criticality (closely linked) these are two academic literacies that students find hardest to master in the first year of any discipline.

With proper guidance and training, however, reflective practice allows students to critically analyse their own work, helping them to take an objective look at their own skills, abilities and approach, and allowing them to continually improve their practice. It can help students to self-evaluate, as well as being a form of self-assessment in itself.

Reflection is usually most effective as an assessed piece when looking back at a piece of work or process. It might ask the student to consider their contribution to group work, for example, or their performance in a placement, presentation or other activity. Alternatively, it might simply reflect on a student’s development within the discipline. Scaffolding is useful: start with a short formative reflection, and use that as an opportunity to discuss and develop critical reflective approaches, before a longer summative piece.

Workload guide

Preparation time Low Student workload Medium Marking time Low

Literacies and skills exhibited

  • Reflecting, evaluating, assessing and judging
  • Working independently, learning independently and being self-directed


  • Self-assessment
  • Case studies
  • Peer assessment


Reflective pieces are usually submitted in essay form, although usually between 500-1000 words. The academic voice will differ from that of an essay, and so marking criteria that focus on reflection, criticality, and self-awareness are necessary.


As for a standard essay assignment, but focusing on the student’s ability to critique their own practice and reflect on internal and external impacts. Group feedback is useful in helping all students to develop their approach to reflection and criticality: and this may form part of a workshop to develop these aspects.

Further reading

Student guides on reflection and criticality (University of Leicester)

Facilitating reflective practice and self-assessment of competence through the use of narratives The University of Newcastle, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia.



Guide to time involved in preparation, marking, and student workload:  Low Low  Medium Medium  High High

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