Using rubrics in student self-assessment: student perceptions in the English as a foreign language writing context



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Using rubrics in student self-assessment

Student reflective journals
All students wrote an electronic journal on their perceived rubric use in self-assessment at the end of the course. They were advised to write the journals in Chinese, their mother tongue, to better verbalise their thinking. All the journals were not collected until after all the students received their final marks for the course, in order to dissipate their worries about voicing their opinions about rubric use over the course.
Interview questions
Individual retrospective interviews were conducted with the six case study informants after each self-assessment practice. Unlike the self-reflective journals, which were aimed at gleaning an overall understanding of the students perceptions of rubric use in self-assessment, the interviews were used to achieve a more nuanced understanding of individual students experiences and opinions about rubric use in self-assessment. In other words, interviews and reflective journals supplement each other to shed light on the research questions.
Data collection
All the data were collected throughout the EFL writing course, which ensures the ecological validity of the present study. Before the formal study, the teacher/researcher organised three min sessions to practice students self-assessment of their writing. The training manual, which contained annotated student sample work and feedback, was used in the training sessions.
In the formal study, the teacher/researcher firstly assigned students an essay topic, then organised a brainstorming session to help them generate ideas and asked them to write an essay on the topic within
45 min in class. Afterwards, the teacher/researcher photocopied the first drafts and gave the original ones back to the students within the same day. The students were instructed to do rubric-referenced self-assessment after class. In the next class, the students paired themselves into peer assessment sessions, during which they assessed their peers photocopied drafts. Based on the feedback generated from self and peer assessment, they wrote their second drafts and handed them into the teacher/
researcher in the next class. The teacher/researcher conducted retrospective interviews with the six case study informants within three days after they handed in their second drafts. Each interview lasted for
30–45 min. The same procedure was followed with students self-assessment practices for 6 essays, and altogether 36 interviews were conducted. To facilitate the case study students expression of opinions,

ASSESSMENT & EVALUATION IN HIGHER EDUCATION the interviews were all done in Chinese. Near the end of the study, all the student participants wrote a reflective journal on their experiences and perceptions of rubric use in self-assessment. Eighty student reflective journals were collected in total.

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