Using self-assessment to enhance learning
This project studied the effects on undergraduate students of 3 self-assessment tasks that were part of their coursework. It discusses the results and makes recommendations about the place of self-assessment in tertiary education.
Dr. Roseanna Bourke, Dr. Carolyn Tait – Faculty of Education, Victoria University of Wellington
Date completed: June 2012
About the project
Traditionally, summative assessment in tertiary institutions has played a pivotal role in determining the level of student achievement and establishing what has been learned. Increasingly however, tertiary educators are incorporating formative assessment practices (assessment for and as, learning) to enable students to actively learn from their assessment experiences, and to engage in the assessment culture in a more collaborative role with academic staff.
This report outlines what happened when a distance undergraduate course, Understanding behaviour: Working with people introduced 3 mandatory self-assessment tasks alongside other summative and traditional forms of assessment. The self-assessment tasks were formative in action and function, but had a summative component in that students received 5% for completion of the submission alongside the written assignment during the course of study. This report describes how the self-assessment was introduced, and examines the associated effects on students and their learning.
The aim of the study was to understand how compulsory self-assessment in a course contributes to the learning of tertiary students who work in professional occupations. The self-assessments of participants were coded to establish categories of responses and to identify themes for how students linked their self-assessments to their learning.
Preliminary findings show that students used self-assessment as a tool to analyse self, to understand others, and to understand their learning. Further analysis was undertaken specifically with a sub-group of the sample, using the self-assessment extracts submitted from the students within the New Zealand Police. Findings showed that those in a professional occupation used self-assessment as an opportunity:
- for reflection
- to explore their relationships with others, and
- to connect their learning to their workplace contexts.
The study highlights the importance of self-assessment as having the potential to develop the learner’s own identity and to align the learning and assessment that occurs in tertiary education with real-world contexts. It identifies the potential for self-assessment tasks to support ongoing lifelong learning and to sustain assessment strategies outside specific course content.
This work is published under the Creative Commons 3.0 New Zealand Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike Licence (BY-NC-SA). Under this licence you are free to copy, distribute, display and perform the work as well as to remix, tweak, and build upon this work noncommercially, as long as you credit the author/s and license your new creations under the identical terms.