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Assessment for learning

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Self-regulated learning

Effective feedback should not limit itself to improved performance: it should also help the student become more conscious of his or her learning processes, and more self-critical. This is known as self-regulated learning, and was one of the goals of the REAP project.

Part of the research rationale for REAP was the work of Nicol and McFarlane-Dick (2006), which claimed that students already possess the ability to assess their work and generate feedback. They advocated opportunities for self- and peer-assessment – students assessing their own and one another's work.

Rust (2001) believes that self- and peer-assessment helps students to apply the assessment criteria for themselves, and thereby gain insight into what is required. Students can be given the opportunity to reflect on their work, and analyse their own strengths and weaknesses, perhaps through completing a self-assessment sheet.

Peer-assessment can take the form of students commenting on one another's work before handing it in to the tutor, or commenting on whole class presentations.


At Liverpool John Moores University, a Level 2 module, "Debating gender in the media", requires students to facilitate a seminar. Students organized a workshop based on themes and readings for that week, and 10 per cent of the total mark went on peer-assessment.

Very often, standards and learning goals are "givens" in higher education, developed by faculty alone. However, many believe that self-regulated learning is helped if there can be a dialogue between tutor and taught about standards, which helps the latter internalize what is required. This was one of the tenets of the ASKe group:

Assessment standards are socially constructed so there must be a greater emphasis on assessment and feedback processes that actively engage both staff and students in dialogue about standards. It is when learners share an understanding of academic and professional standards in an atmosphere of mutual trust that learning works best (Price et al., 2008).

The REAP project actively involved students in the business of identifying and formulating criteria as well as in decisions about assessment.

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