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Student-directed assessment as a learning process for primary students : a mixed-methods study

Fletcher, Anna Ingrid Katarina (2015). Student-directed assessment as a learning process for primary students : a mixed-methods study. PhD Thesis, Charles Darwin University.

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Author Fletcher, Anna Ingrid Katarina
Title Student-directed assessment as a learning process for primary students : a mixed-methods study
Institution Charles Darwin University
Publication Date 2015
Thesis Type PhD
Abstract Contemporary learning requires that students develop their capacity to play an active role in their own learning. Drawing on Assessment for Learning principles from a perspective of social cognitive theory, this study examines how assessment can be used as a learning process in which students develop skills and competence as selfregulated learners.

Conducted at an independent primary school in the Northern Territory, in Australia, as a one-setting, cross-sectional form of practitioner research, the study used a simultaneous design in which qualitative and quantitative data were given equal priority. The study involved 256 students from years 2, 4 and 6, together with 16 teachers. Open-ended questionnaires and semi-structured interviews were used to explore teachers’ and students’ perceptions of Student-Directed Assessment (SDA), combined with a quasi-experimental phase, which provided the basis for the study’s quantitative analysis.

Positioned in an area of overlap among formative assessment pedagogy, Self-Regulated Learning, agentic engagement, and creativity, the thesis puts forward four key insights, in respect of the study’s overarching question: ‘How does Student-Directed Assessment shape learning?’

First, when given support and the opportunity, students direct their learning by making novel, yet appropriate task choices as they address the targeted learning outcomes.

Second, with support and scaffolding, students actively seek to be creative and take sensible risks in their learning.

Third, as directors of the learning process, students’ confidence in their ability to complete tasks serves as a springboard from which they further their will and skills to learn.

Fourth, with support and scaffolding, students who direct their assessment demonstrate a higher degree of achievement compared to students who are given less choice.

By conceptualising assessment as learning through a lens of triadic reciprocality, which combines students’ intrapersonal factors, syllabus outcomes and the situational classroom context, this thesis presents a broadened view of assessment as learning.

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