Implementation of Self-Assessment and Investigation of Feedback in Lower Primary Classrooms

Project Number
OER 13/15 KBK

Project Duration
July 2015 - June 2018


Assessment in Singapore has generally been summative in nature (Tan, Chow, & Goh, 2008). Although there is general satisfaction with the summative assessments, there is also a growing need for assessment for learning in classrooms that serve teachers and students more directly (MOE, 2008, 2009). In Assessment for Learning (AfL), students become users of assessment information and use it as feedback to understand what comes next for them (Stiggins, 2005). AfL is about informing students about their progress while learning is on-going. Self-assessment, an AfL strategy, thus engages the students in deliberate reflection about what they are learning and how they are learning it. Feedback or information from the self-assessment about the students’ learning can be used to “deepen their understandings and improve their performances” (Andrade, 2010, p. 91). Such feedback is important to the students and it is also crucial that teachers provide feedback to support and help the students’ own learning (Hattie & Timperley, 2007). Aside from Lead Researcher Dr Wong Hwei Ming's doctoral study (Wong, 2012), the use of self-assessment is mostly examined in higher education and secondary education. This is due to the perception that “children’s cognitive immaturity will prevent them from self-assessing with acceptable accuracy” (Fontana & Fernandes, 1994, p. 407). This project’s focus on lower primary school students is timely because the PERI Report (MOE, 2009) recommended exploring the use of bite-sized forms of assessment with the emphasis on supporting student learning. Early exposure to self-assessment is beneficial to students as it encourages students’ ownership and responsibility for own learning, regulates understanding and knowledge as well as enhances students’ awareness, motivation, metacognition and autonomy in their learning which are valuable for lifelong learners in the 21st century. This pilot project aims: 1. To develop a systematic method of implementing self-assessment in lower primary school classrooms; 2. To examine changes in early/lower primary students’ perceptions of self-assessment over time; 3. To examine teachers’ perceptions of the value of self-assessment and their use of self-assessment; 4. To examine the kinds of feedback given to early/lower primary students to support their self-assessment; 5. To examine how early/lower primary students perceive and use feedback to support their own learning. This project, conducted by Lead Researchers Dr Dennis Kwek and Dr Wong Hwei Ming with A/P Lee Yew Jin, aims to provide students, teachers and policy-makers with a template for the implementation of self-assessment in Singapore primary schools as well as to provide evidence-based research on the effectiveness of various kinds of feedback for students’ learning. Building on Wong (2012, 2014), it will examine the use of self-assessment and feedback by an entire cohort of lower primary students (Primary 3) in one school using questionnaires, classroom observations, student artefact analyses, interviews and focus group discussions. The project also builds on Core 2 Panel 5’s qualitative study on assessment practices in Singapore Primary and Secondary classrooms by extending their findings on the narrow use of teacher feedback for largely evaluative purposes. Therefore, the project will employ both quantitative and qualitative methods to document and examine the implementation of self-assessment as well as understand the nature of classroom feedback. Recommendations for professional development, scaling up and across other school levels, will be discussed as well as implications for policy makers and curriculum designers.

Funding Source

Related Links
SingTeach Issue 59 (2016): Inspiring Learning through Self-assessment

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