Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Engaging with Graduate Attributes through Encouraging Accurate Student Self-Assessment

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Engaging with Graduate Attributes through Encouraging Accurate Student Self-Assessment

Article excerpt


Self-assessment can be conceptualised as the involvement of students in identifying assessment criteria and standards that they can apply to their work in order to make judgements about whether they have met these criteria (Boud, 1995). It is a process that promotes student learning rather than just grade allocation. However, self-assessment does not have obvious face validity for students; and many students find that making an objective assessment of their work difficult (Lindblom-ylanne, Pihlajamak & Kotkas, 2006). Previous business education research has also found that self-assessment does not closely reflect either peer or instructor assessments (Campbell, et al., 2001).

The current study aimed to explore: (a) the relationship between self-assessment grading and teacher assessment; and (b) the effect of self-assessment in engaging students with graduate attributes, in order to explore the tenets of self-assessment This process of self-assessment was investigated through application of an online assessment system, ReView, to encourage more effective self-assessment in business education. Data collected from two groups (student and teacher) demonstrated that: (1) initial self-assessment results between the teaching academics and the students' self-assessment, were significantly different with students overestimating their ability on every criterion; (2) however, the variation diminished with time to the point that there was no significant difference between the two assessments; and (3) students' awareness of the graduate attributes for their degree program increased from the beginning to the end of the subject (Note 1).

Keywords: Self-assessment, Graduate attributes

1. Introduction

This study (Note 2) focused on developing an approach to engage academics and students with graduate attributes in the business curriculum using self-assessment to assist with the process. It has long been acknowledged that assessment is a key driver in student learning (Ramsden, 2003). Assessment defines what students regard as important, how they spend their time, and how they come to see themselves as students (Brown, Bull & Pendlebury, 1997). Therefore, one way to change student learning is through methods of assessment designed to facilitate these changes (Lawson & Fazey, 2000) and explicitly articulated to students so that their perceptions of the assessments are accurate (Biggs, 2003). In all forms of assessment there are two key stages: firstly, an appreciation of the criteria and standards required for succeeding in an assessment task, and secondly, the ability to make a judgement about whether work meets these criteria and standards. This ability to make accurate judgements can be demonstrated through self-assessment, which can be described as, "the involvement of students in identifying standards and/or criteria to apply to their work and making judgements about the extent to which they have met these criteria and standards" (Boud, 1991, p.5).

One of the core purposes of education is to develop students' capacity in to make judgements about their own work. Such self evaluation is needed both to enable effective study, so that students can focus on the most important aspects of their work they need to improve, and secondly for students to build their skills. Although self-assessment is critical in learning, and it is natural for students to self-assess, it is usually completed in a random, unstructured fashion and as such is not effectively aligned with formal assessment procedures and therefore does not directly impact on student performance (O'Donovan, Price & Rust, 2008).

When self-assessment is fostered in a manner that facilitates both the understanding of criteria and standards, as well as accurate self-judgement, then it contributes to a variety of central goals of university education (Boud, 1995). A person who has the capacity to make good judgements about their work will be able to know how their work can be improved. …

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