About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 1495-1504
Publication year: 2016
ISBN: 978-84-617-5895-1
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2016.1336

Conference name: 9th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2016
Location: Seville, Spain

SELF-ASSESSMENT: AN ESSENTIAL SKILL TO BE MEASURED, TAUGHT, AND LEARNED

K.R. Wirth1, E. Nuhfer2, C. Cogan3, S. Fleisher4, E. Gaze5

1Macalester College (UNITED STATES)
2California State University (retired) (UNITED STATES)
3Consultant (UNITED STATES)
4California State University (UNITED STATES)
5Bowdoin College (UNITED STATES)
Self-assessment plays an essential role in thinking, learning, and program assessment. It is integral to critical thinking, which seeks to attain the highest quality of thinking and understanding. Gains in self-assessment skill also increase the capacity for improved learning, problem solving, and decision-making. Self-assessment serves a vital function during the monitoring and evaluation phases of self-regulated learning. Finally, we rely on self-assessment in higher education for gathering feedback to improve instruction, curricula, and programs. Remarkably, there is relatively little consensus in the literature about students’ abilities to self-assess, and it is rarely included as an explicit curricular outcome. The results of this study, using closely aligned instruments to compare self-assessed and direct measures of competence in science literacy, indicate that most undergraduate students are capable of making informed self-assessments, and that self-assessment skill improves with education.

We used the Science Literacy Concept Inventory (SLCI), an identically worded knowledge survey of science literacy (KS-SLCI), and general queries of science literacy to measure science literacy and self-assessments of science literacy among 1154 undergraduate students, graduate students, and university professors. Our results indicate that initial self-assessments of science literacy in response to general queries correlate significantly but weakly (r = 0.29) with direct measures of science literacy. In contrast, self-reported measures of science literacy from the knowledge survey correlate strongly (r = 0.60) with direct measures from the SLCI. Similarly, postdicted self-assessments in response to general queries after completing the knowledge survey (KS-SLCI) and concept inventory (SCLI) remain highly correlated with direct measures of science literacy (r = 0.51 and 0.59, respectively). The variance of self-assessment errors (estimated from the difference between self-assessed and measured science literacy) decreases from the novice (first and second year student) to expert (faculty in science and non-science fields) populations in our study demonstrating that faculty are, in general, more highly skilled in self-assessment.

These results are significant for the measurement and study of self-assessment skills, teaching and learning, and for the improvement of educational programs and curricula. Measures of self-assessment are necessarily noisy, but they also contain a significant and meaningful metacognitive self-assessment signal. By using careful design principles, instructors can make accurate and reliable measures of competence in self-assessment. These data can offer valuable feedback to students about their developing skills, and for purposes of improving teaching and learning. Our results imply that collective student postdicted self-reports of knowledge, understanding, and skill furnish useful assessments of student learning. However, predicted global self-assessments are less valuable; once individuals have been confronted with more detailed descriptions of cognitive or skill tasks, they are able to make more informed assessments of their abilities to meet those tasks. Our data indicate that self-assessment skill improves in adults relatively slowly through college. How much better might it improve if it received explicit attention in our curricula?
@InProceedings{WIRTH2016SEL,
author = {Wirth, K.R. and Nuhfer, E. and Cogan, C. and Fleisher, S. and Gaze, E.},
title = {SELF-ASSESSMENT: AN ESSENTIAL SKILL TO BE MEASURED, TAUGHT, AND LEARNED},
series = {9th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2016 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-617-5895-1},
issn = {2340-1095},
doi = {10.21125/iceri.2016.1336},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/iceri.2016.1336},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Seville, Spain},
month = {14-16 November, 2016},
year = {2016},
pages = {1495-1504}}
TY - CONF
AU - K.R. Wirth AU - E. Nuhfer AU - C. Cogan AU - S. Fleisher AU - E. Gaze
TI - SELF-ASSESSMENT: AN ESSENTIAL SKILL TO BE MEASURED, TAUGHT, AND LEARNED
SN - 978-84-617-5895-1/2340-1095
DO - 10.21125/iceri.2016.1336
PY - 2016
Y1 - 14-16 November, 2016
CI - Seville, Spain
JO - 9th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2016 Proceedings
SP - 1495
EP - 1504
ER -
K.R. Wirth, E. Nuhfer, C. Cogan, S. Fleisher, E. Gaze (2016) SELF-ASSESSMENT: AN ESSENTIAL SKILL TO BE MEASURED, TAUGHT, AND LEARNED, ICERI2016 Proceedings, pp. 1495-1504.
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