Cooperative learning-embedded assessment: Implications for students' assessment literacy and self-directedness in learning
Studies reporting on the influence of assessment practices, fostering assessment literacy and self-directed learning skills, are limited. The aim of this investigation was to determine the influence of the implementation of cooperative learning-embedded assessment on the assessment literacy and self-directed learning readiness of first-year Life Sciences students. In order to achieve the research aim, a mixed-method approach was followed. During the quantitative phase of the investigation, the Self-Rating Scale of Self-Directed Learning and the Student Assessment Literacy Questionnaire were analysed. In the qualitative phase of this investigation, the Cooperative Learning-Embedded Assessment Questionnaire was administered to the first-year Life Sciences students in the experimental group. Semi-structured individual interviews were also conducted with randomly selected first-year Life Sciences students in the experimental group. The questions in the questionnaire and in the interviews were compiled to determine the students’ perception of the cooperative learning-embedded assessment intervention. Furthermore, the questions of the questionnaire and interviews aimed to establish how the students’ perception of cooperative learning-embedded assessment contributed to their assessment literacy and self-directed learning The relationship between the students’ assessment literacy and their self-directedness in learning was also established. The results of this investigation contribute to the body of knowledge on assessment that is situated within cooperative learning with the development of cooperative learning-embedded assessment. Furthermore, a contribution is made to the body of knowledge on assessment literacy of students, as it provides insight into how participating students experienced cooperative learning-embedded assessment. The implementation of cooperative learning-embedded assessment contributes to students' assessment literacy in terms of understanding the university's purpose with assessment, their minimum effort orientation towards assessable tasks, understanding local assessment protocols and assessment standards, as well as being able to use assessment to judge their own work and the work of their peers. The implementation of cooperative learning-embedded assessment also contributes towards the development of the following self-directed learning skills, which are crucial for becoming self-directed in one's learning: diagnosing learning needs, identifying strengths and weaknesses, seeing peers as resources, being motivated to learn, selecting appropriate learning strategies, and monitoring learning progress.
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