ERIC Number: EJ767151
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Aug
Reference Count: 34
Self-Assessment and the Disadvantaged Student: Potential for Encouraging Self-Regulated Learning?
Kirby, Nicola F.; Downs, Colleen T.
Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, v32 n4 p475-494 Aug 2007
The Science Foundation Programme (SFP) at the University of KwaZulu Natal, Pietermaritzburg attempts to address past educational inequalities by providing disadvantaged matriculants with the skills, resources and self-confidence needed to embark on their tertiary studies. Students entering the Programme typically adopt a surface approach to learning with emphasis being placed on high score achievement which results in a mark-driven attitude towards assessment. Students also lack the metacognitive skills associated with a deep approach to learning. Within this mark-driven culture, it is important to attempt to move students away from such a superficial approach to learning and assessment. Worldwide, self-assessment practice has been gaining recognition, and it has been linked to the adoption of a deep approach to learning; self-regulated learning and the development of metacognitive skills. In the biology module of the Programme, students are given two essay assignments, tasks that are routinely performed very poorly. In attempt to improve SFP students' essay writing abilities, a self-assessment scheme to accompany the essay tasks was instituted, hoping that this would get the students to engage with the assessment criteria. It was intended that students would not only fulfil the requirements of the task better, but also achieve the valuable skill of self-assessment. The results provide overwhelming evidence that SFP students cannot accurately self-assess. Their naivety and inexperience in fulfilling assessment criteria was also revealed. Overall, marks awarded by staff were significantly lower than those awarded by students, and there was no evidence to suggest that any one category of students based on academic ability were better able to self-assess than another. Marker inconsistencies were revealed, but this was shown to have no effect on findings. In spite of these results, a case for pursuing self-assessment is made and proposals for improving student self-assessment practice in the SFP are suggested. (Contains 6 tables and 1 figure.)
Descriptors: Higher Education, Biology, Science Instruction, Foreign Countries, Academic Ability, Writing Ability, Disadvantaged, Academic Achievement, Metacognition, Postsecondary Education, Learner Controlled Instruction, Grades (Scholastic), Scores, Educational Assessment, Self Evaluation (Individuals), Essays, Writing Assignments, English (Second Language)
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site: http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/default.html
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: South Africa