Unpacking student self-assessment processes: A longitudinal naturalistic experiment
The goal of this project is to test experimentally the impact of two different classroom SSA methods as well as to examine the mechanisms by which SSA processes influence student learning.
Student self-assessment (SSA) is a core element of current assessment reform worldwide. It is advocated in the educational policy of many countries, including the USA, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand, that emphasise the formative purpose of assessment and the development of skills to meet future demand. Under the current assessment policy in Hong Kong, teachers are expected to involve students in classroom assessment practices. Rather than relying solely on frequent testing, students are expected to conduct self-assessments to better understand their own learning needs, priorities, and strengths. Research has shown self-assessment leads to better evaluative judgment, self-regulation of learning, and life-long learning. Yet at the classroom level little is known about specific classroom activities that promote SSA. In addition, little attention has been paid to the dynamic interaction between SSA processes and the cognitive/metacognitive (e.g., self-regulated learning, academic performance) and emotional (e.g., academic emotions) aspects of learning. Hence the goal of this project is to test experimentally the impact of two different classroom SSA methods as well as to examine the mechanisms by which SSA processes influence student learning. By conducting this research in a naturalistic environment, both the feasibility and utility of these methods can be robustly identified. The findings of this research will provide a better understanding of the SSA process as a learning strategy, its potential for widespread adoption both at the policy and practical levels, and its theoretical importance for assessment for learning.
Based on the results of a pilot study (Yan, Chiu, & Ko, under review), a quasi-experimental research design with matching participants (King, Nielsen, Coberley, Pope, & Wells, 2011) combined with time-series data collection (Schmitz & Perels, 2011; Schmitz & Wiese, 2006) will be used. In Experiment 1, the effects of two interventions (i.e., SSA diary and explicit SSA training) will be evaluated and the dynamic interaction between SSA process and student learning will be examined. The participants will be students in three secondary classes at the same year level (N=90) and three primary classes at the same year level (N=90). At each level, one class will be randomly assigned to one of the two treatment conditions or to control. In Experiment 2, the distinct effect of different practices in SSA process will be examined. A combination intervention (i.e., explicit SSA training plus SSA diary) will be designed and administered to two secondary classes (N=60) and two primary classes (N=60) which will be randomly assigned either to the experimental or control condition. In both experiments, the selected classes will be matched for academic ability and taught by the same teacher. Classes will be in subjects that have frequent lessons and assignments per week, (e.g., core subjects of Chinese, English or Mathematics) in order to maximise data collection points.
A key feature of this project is to maximise its impact on policy and practice settings. The use of natural learning contexts is an important way to ensure that SSA is an authentic learning opportunity for students and can be effectively utilised by teachers. These contexts can help to reveal the mechanisms by which SSA contributes to students’ greater levels of self-regulated learning, more adaptive academic emotions, and better learning outcomes. The accuracy of SSA evaluations will be assessed, as will the relationship between SSA and academic emotions. An understanding of this relationships will help to make pedagogical recommendations to teachers about the acquisition of meaningful SSA skills. More importantly, the study has the potential to inform theoretical developments in SSA, help improve formative assessment of students to guide their learning, and inform the design of educational policy-making and parental roles in children’s schooling.
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