From “Self-Tested” to “Self-Testing”: A Review of Self-Assessment Systems for Learning

From “Self-Tested” to “Self-Testing”: A Review of Self-Assessment Systems for Learning

Mingming Zhou (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-842-2.ch008


This chapter consists of an in-depth analysis and synthesis of the research and development of self-assessment systems for learning. 15 intelligent tutoring systems were reviewed according to the way they support self-assessment during different learning stages – the timing of taking a self-test, the way the test is designed, and the way the feedback is produced upon the test result. The author noted a shift from students’ being self-tested (by the system) to self-testing themselves (by requesting and designing tests). This shift not only highlights the need for learners to exercise agency during learning by experiencing more autonomy for self-assessment but also establishes the pedagogical framework for intelligent tutoring system design. The author proposed a model of directed self-assessment which encompasses two dimensions with one emphasizing students’ initiatives and the other focusing on external scaffold from intelligent self-assessment systems. In this way, learners are greatly encouraged and scaffolded to take a more active part in managing and assessing their own learning.
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Self-Assessment: From Self-Tested To Self-Testing

Self-assessment occurs when students judge their own work to improve performance as they identify discrepancies between current and desired performance. The assessment results constitute the basis for self-monitoring, an ongoing process of collecting information about task performance in relation to pre-established standards (Ferretti, Cavalier, Murphy, & Murphy, 1993). As the pivot on which self-regulated learning turns, monitoring creates opportunities for learners to change tactics and to control how a task might be better dealt with (Winne, 2001). Self-monitoring students pay deliberate attention to what they are doing and as such, recognize and track their behavior when they self-assess. This allows them to make more valid and accurate self-judgment which involves identifying progress toward targeted performance and reaching a judgment of current status. These judgments give students a meaningful idea of what they already know and what they still need to learn, which constitutes a strong basis for assessing learning progress.

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