Self-assessment in tertiary education: Developing ontological awareness Event as iCalendar

02 August 2017

2 - 3pm

Venue: Room H301, H Block, Epsom Campus

Location: 74 Epsom Avenue, Auckland

Host: Quant-DARE & LRNDVP

Contact info: RSVP to Gavin Brown

Contact email:

The development of self-assessment tasks into higher education courses involves a conceptual shift of the role and function of assessment for both learners and teachers. This paper explores how self-assessment can be used as an innovative assessment and learning initiative to foreground ontological knowledge and professional identity in tertiary contexts, especially where external professional bodies require additional competencies for learners to be work-ready. As a tool to develop learners’ metacognitive strategies such as self-regulation, self-determination and building self-efficacy, self-assessment into tertiary courses challenges views around learning and assessment.

The defined task that constitutes ‘self-assessment’ must be considered for two key reasons. First it is fundamentally a tool to reflect student-staff partnership in learning and assessment if students are positioned as agentic in the assessment process, and second it challenges the relationship between assessment and learning; no longer dichotomous, and more culturally relevant.

This paper outlines a case study across three years that explores the impact on tertiary education policy and practice when introducing innovative forms of self-assessment in a post-masterate educational psychology training programme, where developing student-staff partnerships emerge. Through Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT), a framework of analysis that recognizes multiple networks of activity, multi-voiced motives, the question ‘what constitutes a self-assessment task?’ is addressed.

Results show that the development of self-assessment tasks needs to be considered in the learning-assessment nexus, and while these forms of assessment initially unsettle students, they participate with an eye on their learning, not the grade.

About Roseanna Bourke

Roseanna Bourke is an Associate Professor of Learning and Assessment at Massey University. As a classroom teacher and educational psychologist she was interested in understanding the phenomenon of learning and self-assessment from a student perspective.

Her book The Chameleonic Learner: Learning and self-assessment in context (2010, NZCER) explores the link between assessment and learning, and shows how context influences how and why student adapt their approach to learning. More recently Roseanna has been researching informal and everyday learning as part of a 3-year TLRI research. Her research on student voice, informal learning, self-assessment, and ethics in assessment practice includes both school-based and higher education context.