Innovation in Language Learning

Edition 16

Accepted Abstracts

Integrating Self-Assessment in Higher Education for Developing Master’s Students’ Self-Reflection and Autonomy in Learning

Soodeh Eghtesad, University of Tehran (Iran, Islamic Republic of)


“Assessment for learning” has recently been at the center of instructors’ attention in educational contexts since it is not only goal-oriented, but it also helps students and instructors regulate their learning and teaching according to course objectives and students’ progress. Among the various types of assessment for learning practices, self-assessment is a practical technique that enables students to reflect on their learning, develop practical learning strategies, and discover useful ways of compensating their learning problems, which turns them into independent and responsible lifelong learners. The purpose of this study is to examine the implementation of self-assessment in masters’ level French Language-Teaching seminars in order to investigate whether this type of assessment promotes improvements in students’ practical knowledge and skills on the one hand, and self-reflection, critical thinking, and autonomy on the other hand. Two groups of master’s students, each composed of 12 participants aged 22-45, who participated in two identical master’s seminars at the University of Tehran in Iran were selected. Master’s degree seminars in Language-Teaching were selected since students in these seminars are trained to be future instructors, teaching languages. As future teachers, these students need to develop self-regulation, self-evaluation and self-reflection techniques. They also need to develop a critical and analytic approach toward their performance in order to regularly assess their teaching capacities, their strengths and weaknesses, and the areas in which they need improvement in their language-teaching career. As language instructors, they need to learn self-assessment practices and implement them in their future classes because languages are lifelong learning tasks; their learning is not therefore limited within the boundaries of classrooms under the instruction and supervision of an expert. During the first semester, both groups were assessed by the instructor. During the second semester, however, the first group (control group) continued to be assessed by the instructor whereas in the second group (experimental group), students were responsible for assessing their learning throughout the semester. The overall students’ performance in the two seminars was compared and analyzed at the end of both semesters, along with a questionnaire distributed among the experimental group students at the end of the second semester in order to examine whether self-assessment enhanced students’ learning, and whether it helped them develop self-reflection and critical thinking regarding their learning and learning strategies. The results indicated significant improvement in the experimental group students’ performance, and as expressed by the participants, made them more conscious about their learning strategies, more responsible for their learning, and more independent and autonomous in their educational career.

Keywords: Self-assessment, Higher education, Learning, Self-Reflection, Autonomy, Iran.

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