Eastburn, Sara (2009) Self-Assessment Dialogue: added value? The Student Perspective. Prime, 3 (2). pp. 49-58.

Self-assessment is described by Race (2005) as a means by which students can both
better prepare for assessment and better demonstrate their learning (p. 94). Reflective
practice is a necessary skill of all graduates; fundamental to this is self-assessment.
Within graduate education per se awareness of one’s own learning, in terms of both
achievements and ongoing needs, is fundamental to 1) working autonomously, 2) lifelong
learning and 3) collaborative working.
Self-assessment is suggested by Taras (2001) as a means by which confidence and
independence may be fostered. A self-assessment dialogue document (SADD) is a means
by which a student is encouraged to reflect on their learning from undertaking a piece of
work at the point of assessment. This not only fosters breadth and depth of reflection, but
allows dialogue between the student and assessor (tutor or peer) that feeds forward –
either summatively, formatively (described by Irons (2008) as a powerful and
constructive learning tool) or a combination of both – into the student’s learning
continuum. In addition, a dialogue-approach may allow an opportunity for the student to
clarify and verify with the tutor what is being said (Nicol and Macfarlane-Dick, 2006) -
crucial if learning is to be maximised as students often do not understand the feedback
being given to them.
Tutor feedback is viewed as a crucial component to student learning and there is clear
evidence that self-assessment and tutor discussion enhances student learning in
comparison to self assessment alone (Taras, 2001). There is some debate around the
relationship between learning opportunity and summative grading (Taras, 2001; 2002),
but even if awarded a summative mark, the formative feedback from the student-assessor
dialogue enriches the student’s learning experience (Irons, 2008). Ultimately such
activity may enhance student retention and develop skills of reflection and criticality.

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