11 May 2006

On self-assessment

A friend has sent me this link to an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education (the US equivalent of the THES). I discussed it with colleagues yesterday, and we agreed that it did not really accord with our experience of self-assessment exercises. On the whole our students tend to under-estimate their competence rather than over-estimate it.

We hypothesised (OK—guessed) that if true, this might be because our students are more mature than undergraduates (even clinical students in medical school), and/or it might be a cultural difference between the UK and the USA.

So some questions to anyone who actually reads this blog! It's about time you did some work—as if reading my ramblings were not work enough;
  • Does anyone know of any UK research which focuses on similar issues? and in particular,
  • Do you know of anything which compares the UK and the US on this? and/or
  • Compares undergraduates and post-grads/professional course students?
Thanks, looking forward to hearing from you.


At 6:47 PM , Blogger Jonathan said...

There's certainly research on self- and peer-assessment in the UK but I can't for the life of me remember where I've seen it. IIRC most of it focuses on effects on student attitudes and self-confidence rather than grades.
I've spoken about this subject in the past and at every institution I've brought it up the room is split between those who think students are incapable of doing it (in which case, I don't think they can graduate seeing as the definition of graduateness includes the ability to judge your own and others' work), those who want to try it but don't feel brave enough, those who tried it and hated it (usually because they implemented it cack-handedly) and those who think it's a wonderful, fun and energising experience. I'm in the latter camp.
Plenty of case studies and anecdotal evidence, I would imagine, at the HEA subject centres, but the problem with statistical analyses is that they assume in comparing student judgements with staff judgements that the staff are correct. In my experience, there's a bigger variation between staff judgements than there is between students and staff...


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