Not knowing that they do not know: self-assessment accuracy of third-year medical students
Article first published online: 1 FEB 2006
Volume 40, Issue 2, pages 173–179, February 2006
How to Cite
Langendyk, V. (2006), Not knowing that they do not know: self-assessment accuracy of third-year medical students. Medical Education, 40: 173–179. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2929.2005.02372.x
- Issue published online: 1 FEB 2006
- Article first published online: 1 FEB 2006
- Received 29 April 2005; editorial comments to authors 1 June 2005; accepted for publication 23 June 2005
- undergraduate/* methods;
- educational measurement/*methods;
- clinical competence/*standards;
- self assessment;
- sensitivity and specificity;
- evaluation studies (publication type)
Purpose The development of self-regulated learning is a major focus of our problem-based learning (PBL) medical programme. Students who are unsuccessful in assessments often seem to lack insight into the standard of their own performance, yet the ability to self-assess accurately is essential for the effective self-management of learning. The aim of this project was to evaluate the accuracy of self- and peer-assessment according to academic performance.
Method In 2004, 175 3rd-year students undertook an integrated, case-based, short-essay, formative assessment. After the assessment they were provided with model answers and marking criteria. Students marked their own assessment paper and the paper of one of their peers. Assessment papers were subsequently marked by faculty members. The following data was available for each student: self-mark, faculty-mark, score awarded by a peer and the score that they awarded to their peer. Self-assessment and peer-assessment ability was compared to overall academic performance.
Results Low-achieving students score themselves and their peers generously. High-achieving students score themselves more harshly than faculty. However, they score their peers accurately.
Conclusion In the 3rd year of the programme low-achieving students are unable to assess accurately the quality of their own work or the work of their peers in a formative written assessment. The PBL curriculum does not guarantee the appropriate development of self-assessment skills.