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Teacher Educators Rethink Self-Assessment in Higher Education

A Guide for the Perplexed


Edited By 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 5 The Conundrum of Self-Evaluation as Scientific Argument (Catherine Milne)


Science students, undergraduate and graduate, have little or no expe- rience of self-assessment and self-evaluation prior to their involvement in our science teaching methods course. For many, their prior assess- ment experience consists of exams and laboratory reports. Data in the form of observations of students and transcripts of cogenerative dia- logues run with students indicate that when they are informed that they will be required to self-evaluate, many approach the requirement with trepidation. Understandably, they are concerned because they have been successful science students, and self-evaluation requires a step into the unknown and a willingness to trust that we, the teachers of the course, will honor their self-evaluation. In order to assist our students to understand the structure of self-eval- uation my co-professor and I have invited them to structure the process as the equivalent of a scientific argument. When making an argument, each student is required to think of her learning throughout the course and award herself a grade that is indicative of that learning. The evidence she uses to support her claim must come from data sources such as file cards, discussion lists, reflective journals and video analysis of teaching, Chapter 5 The Conundrum of Self-Evaluation as Scientific Argument Catherine Milne b_text_T4.qxd 1/15/2014 8:36 AM Page 61 which the student has generated during the course. When making an argument each student is required to make explicit, in the form of quotes or other forms of data representation, connections between her claims and evidence. Her...

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