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Teacher Educators Rethink Self-Assessment in Higher Education

A Guide for the Perplexed

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Judith McVarish and Catherine Milne

This edited book provides readers with a guide for implementing self-assessment and self-evaluation that is based on a model implemented successfully in a diverse range of teacher education courses. Educators from disciplines as diverse as theater arts, early childhood, psychology, mathematics, and science education have adopted a model of self-assessment and self-evaluation that supports the individual ongoing assessment of learning throughout a course as well as the final synthesis of individual learning in the course. Self-assessment and self-evaluation are presented here as a means to help students and teachers reinvent the learning process as co-constructed, powered by evidence and agency in order to lift thinking beyond the mere attainment of an end-point grade; to help students own their learning in new ways they may not have experienced before; to think about teaching and learning that will carry them beyond their formal schooling years; and to value new questions as evidence of learning.

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Chapter 1 Moving Beyond Grade-Getting with Self-Assessment (Judith McVarish & Catherine Milne)

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Judith McVarish & Catherine Milne Moving Beyond Grade-Getting with Self-Assessment Chapter 1 My red folder in the fourth year suddenly out of nowhere wants me to assert what I achieve in school “in my own words.” How can I blow the trumpet they’ve taken from me? —RAYCHAUDHURI, 1998, P. 75 This verse from Sibani Raychaudhuri’s poem, Self-assessment, highlights for us the challenges and possibilities associated with implementing strategies for self-assessment and self-evaluation in higher education and teacher education contexts. In order to anticipate that students are able to self-assess and self-evaluate educators have a responsibility for pro- viding students with ongoing opportunities and resources so that they find out how to evaluate their learning and set goals for future learning. b_text_T4.qxd 1/15/2014 8:36 AM Page 1 The Status of Assessment in Higher Education However, before we can begin to examine strategies for self-assessment and self-evaluation we need to examine the nature of assessment in higher education. As Boud and Falchikov (2007) note, assessment can have long- term consequences for career trajectories and for the life choices that peo- ple make. For students in higher education, assessment helps them to identify what is important and upon which they should focus their learn- ing resources (Tait & Entwistle, 1996). Brown, Bull, and Pendlebury (1997) note that if you want to change student learning you need to change the methods of assessment. In addition, self-assessment is a lifelong applied skill—all the many judgments that we make about what we can do,...

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