Understanding student self-assessment in terms of learning, grading and empowerment

Understanding student self-assessment in terms of learning, grading and empowerment

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Understanding student self-assessment in terms of learning, grading and empowerment

It is generally agreed that there has been a shift in the emphasis in higher education from focusing on what teachers do to an emphasis on the centrality of the student as a learner. This has resulted in a stronger emphasis on the involvement of students in their programs of study in higher education. In these contexts, student self-assessment is a form of alternative assessment that reflects the more visible role that students have in the assessment process. Whilst the general importance of self-assessment in higher education has been embraced, the definition and practice of self-assessment is subject to diverse and at times incompatible discourses. This paper provides insights on understanding the position of self-assessment in higher education by identifying its distinct identity in terms of learning, grading and empowerment. It is argued that learning, grading and empowerment poses different and at times opposing purposes for self-assessment. Enhancements are suggested for enhancing self-assessment in each of these purposes. The paper concludes with recommendations for understanding and using self-assessment in ways that may fulfil the different purposes of learning, assessment and empowerment at the same time.

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