Establishing clear, measurable expected outcomes of student learning;
Ensuring that students have sufficient opportunities to achieve those outcomes;
Systematically gathering, analyzing, and interpreting evidence to determine how well student learning matches our expectations; and
Using the resulting information to understand and improve student learning.
Current college learning is assessed by instructors (on behalf of the department, and/or college) using quizzes, regular assignments and projects, tests and all possible methods of classroom observation and interaction to elicit a students’ most true score. I would argue, however, this score is absolutely not true.
In the current student learning assessment system, students are completely excluded from the process and the assessment result is merely the educator’s impression and perception of the student’s achievement. What are the students’ feelings about themselves? No one knows, and no one cares. And in this current systems, students must accept the incomplete judgment from the teachers.
Education, instead, should take an innovative approach and make assessment into a formative process which can be used for learning improvement. When students are excluded from the assessment of themselves, they are denied insight into their own improvement and knowledge building. They are actually barred from the opportunity to generate intrinsic, positive attitudes, energies, and efforts to improve themselves when they do not know what their strengths and weaknesses are or how they can improve their learning accordingly.
Students are human beings, and self-concept is a unique gift human beings hold in comparison to other animals. This gift should be utilized to achieve a person’s best possible improvement. If educators ignore and fail to make full use of this gift, students are unable to realize the complete potential or utilization of this gift.
Human beings influence others’ behavior through self-maintaining processes such as self-presentation, self-monitoring, and self-regulation (Fiske, 2004). No learning will be achieved until students themselves get actively involved in improving their insight and judgment of their efforts and intelligence. The exclusion of students from the learning assessment system deprives students the opportunity to actively participate in all aspects of learning. Higher education, therefore, must reconsider the current assessment system and work, without hesitation, to solve this systematic problem in order to maximize the assessment validity and student learning.
Student self-assessment should be designed and conducted for students to better understand their own expectations, their current situation, the learning gap, their potential, willingness to fill the gap and even their action plan. Tools for students to make self-assessments should include, but are not limited to, a weekly journal, a monthly report or a reflection summarization. Instructors should also involve peer students, teaching assistants and themselves in most of the student self-assessment activities to ensure effectiveness and validity. Teachers should synthesize their assessment results with those from the students and from the student self-improvement perspective, to make an objective and constructive analysis thereafter. Finally, teachers need to provide comments and suggestions for student immediately and store for future use. In this way, our key stakeholders (i.e., students) will be happy, and we educators will also be happy, since we are now an active part of making increased learning happen.
Fiske, S. T. (2004). Social beings: A core motives approach to social psychology
. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley.
Suskie, L. (2004). Assessing Student Learning: A Common Sense Guide.
Bolton, MA: Anker.