Academic journal article Journal of Allied Health

A Method for Assessing Reflective Journal Writing

Academic journal article Journal of Allied Health

A Method for Assessing Reflective Journal Writing

Article excerpt

Reflection is widely accepted as a learning tool and is considered integral to professional practice. Journal writing is advocated in facilitating reflection, yet little is written about how to assess reflection in journals. The purpose of this study was to develop and test a method of assessing the elements of reflection in journals and to determine whether, and to what level, reflection occurs in journals. Twenty-seven physical therapy students maintained written reflective journals throughout three of their four eightweek clinical affiliations. The students were introduced to concepts of reflective practice with definitions of terms and reflective questions before their second affiliation. A coding schema was developed to assess the journals. Three raters assessed forty-three journals. The text of each journal was analyzed for evidence of nine elements of reflection, and each journal was categorized as showing no evidence of reflection, evidence of reflection, or evidence of critical reflection. Descriptive statistics were used to demonstrate evidence of reflection. Reliability between each pair of raters was assessed using percent agreement, φ coefficients, and φ statistics. Interrater reliability of all raters was assessed using intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC[2,1]). Results showed that the raters assessed 95.3%-100% of the journals as showing at least one element of reflection. The percent agreement between rater pairs for the nine elements of reflection ranged from 65.1% to 93.0%, the φ coefficient ranged from 0.08 to 0.81, and the ICC(2,1) values used to assess reliability among the three raters on each element ranged from 0.03 to 0.72. Averaging the assessment of the three raters for the overall journal, 14.7% of the journals were assessed as showing no evidence of reflection, 43.4% as showing evidence of reflection, and 41.9% as showing evidence of critical reflection. The percent agreement between rater pairs for the overall assessment of the journals ranged from 67.4% to 85.7%, the γ statistic ranged from 0.88 to 0.98, and the 1CC(2,1) among all raters was 0.74 (95% confidence interval, 0.61-0.84). These results represent an acceptable level of agreement for use of this method of assessment for educational purposes. The coding schema developed provides a mechanism to assess evidence of reflection in written journals, which will enable instructors to evaluate student competency, obtain a baseline for facilitating reflective practice, and assess their own efficacy in facilitating reflection among students. J Allied Health 2005; 34:199-208.

REFLECTION, as a method of learning from experience, has been widely accepted in various domains of professional education, particularly in teacher education and nursing. In the medical and allied health professions, it has been considered critical to professional practice, leading certain accrediting bodies to expect education programs to prepare students to be reflective practitioners.1 Much has been written about reflective practice, particularly with respect to how it can be incorporated into the classroom. Further, journal writing has been suggested as a mechanism to facilitate reflection.2,12 However, little has been written about how to assess reflection, particularly from the perspective of assessing its processes or components evident within journals.10-14 Without a mechanism of assessment, educators cannot fully determine the extent to which journal writing truly facilitates reflective practice. The purpose of this study was to develop and test a method of assessing reflection in journals and to determine whether, and to what level, reflection occurs in student journals.

Literature Review

The terms "reflection" and "reflective practice" have become commonplace; when discussed, many clinicians espouse that they reflect routinely. The question raised by these researchers was "while many say they reflect, do they?" To fully investigate this question, the researchers explored the theoretical literature to define reflection and its importance in the learning process as well as current literature to determine how reflection has been measured. …

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