Contrasting case instruction can improve self-assessment of writing

  • Xiaodong Lin-Siegler
  • David Shaenfield
  • Anastasia D. Elder
Research Article

Abstract

Self-assessment is a process during which students evaluate the quality of their work in a given domain based on explicitly stated criteria. Accurate self-assessments improve students’ academic achievement. Yet, students often have difficulties assessing their own work. It is possible that appropriate instructional supports will help students overcome these difficulties. To test this premise, we compared the effects of presenting and discussing examples of well and poorly written stories (contrasting cases) with the effects of only presenting and discussing examples of well written stories (good cases only) on students’ writing. Fifty-three 6th-grade students in two history classrooms were randomly assigned to either the contrasting cases or good-cases-only instructional conditions. Results showed that students in the contrasting cases instructional condition created stories of better quality, developed a deeper understanding of the assessment criteria, and became better able to identify areas in need of improvement. This study is one of few efforts applying perceptual learning theories to improve academic skills in everyday classroom settings. The use of contrasting cases provides a promising yet a simple instructional approach that both teachers and students can use to improve writing and self-assessment.

Keywords

Self-assessment Contrasting cases History story writing 

References

  1. Andrade, H. G. (2001). The effects of instructional rubrics on learning to write. Current Issues in Education, 4(4), 31–37.Google Scholar
  2. Andrade, H. G. (2010). Students as the definitive source of formative assessment: Academic self-assessment and the self-regulation of learning. In H. Andrade & G. Cizek (Eds.), Handbook of formative assessment (pp. 90–105). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  3. Andrade, H. G., & Boulay, B. A. (2003). Role of rubric-referenced self-assessment in learning to write. Journal of Educational Research, 97(1), 21–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Andrade, H., & Du, Y. (2005). Student perspectives on rubric-referenced assessment. Practical Assessment, Research and Evaluation, 10(3), 1–11.Google Scholar
  5. Andrade, H. L., Du, Y., & Mycek, K. (2010). Rubric-referenced self-assessment and middle school students’ writing. Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice, 17(2), 199–214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Andrade, H. L., Du, Y., & Wang, X. (2008). Putting rubrics to the test: The effect of a model, criteria generation, and rubric-referenced self-assessment on elementary school students’ writing. Educational Measurement: Issues and Practice, 27(2), 3–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Andrade, H. L., Wang, X., Du, Y., & Akawi, R. L. (2009). Rubric-referenced self-assessment and self-efficacy for writing. The Journal of Educational Research, 102(4), 287–301.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Andrade, H. L., & Warner, Z. B. (2012). Beyond “I give myself an A”. Educator’s Voice, 5, 42–51.Google Scholar
  9. Azevedo, R., Moos, D. C., Greene, J. A., Winters, F. I., & Cromley, J. G. (2008). Why is externally-facilitated regulated learning more effective than self-regulated learning with hypermedia? Educational Technology Research and Development, 56(1), 45–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bjork, R. A. (1999). Assessing our own competence: Heuristics and illusions. In D. Gopher & A. Koriat (Eds.), Attention and performance XVII: Cognitive regulation of performance: Interaction of theory and application (pp. 435–459). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  11. Bransford, J. D., Franks, J. J., Vye, N. J., & Sherwood, R. D. (1989). New approaches to instruction: Because wisdom can’t be told. In S. Vosniadou & A. Ortony (Eds.), Similarity and analogical reasoning (pp. 470–497). New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Brown, A. L. (1978). Knowing when, where, and how to remember: A problem of metacognition. In R. Glaser (Ed.), Advances in instructional psychology (Vol. 1, pp. 77–165). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  13. Brown, A. L. (1987). Metacognition, executive control, self-regulation and other more mysterious mechanisms. In F. E. Weinert & R. H. Kluwe (Eds.), Metacognition, motivation, and understanding (pp. 65–116). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  14. Childers, J. B. (2008). The structural alignment and comparison of events in verb acquisition. In V. S. Sloutsky, B. C. Love, & K. McRae (Eds.), Proceedings of the 30th annual conference of the cognitive science society. Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.Google Scholar
  15. Childers, J. B., & Paik, J. H. (2009). Korean- and English-speaking children use cross-situational information to learn novel predicate terms. Journal of Child Language, 36(1), 201–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. De Bruin, A. B. H., & van Gog, T. (2012). Improving self-monitoring and self-regulation: From cognitive psychology to the classroom. Learning and Instruction, 22, 245–252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dunlosky, J., & Hertzog, C. (1998). Training programs to improve learning in later adulthood: Helping older adults educate themselves. In D. J. Hacker, J. Dunlosky, & A. C. Graesser (Eds.), Metacognition in education theory and practice (pp. 249–276). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  18. Dunlosky, J., & Rawson, K. A. (2012). Overconfidence produce underachievement: Inaccurate self evaluations undermine students’ learning and retention. Learning and Instruction, 22(4), 271–280.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Dunning, D., Heath, C., & Suls, J. M. (2004). Flawed self-assessment: Implications for health, education and workplace. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 5(3), 69–106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Elder, A. D. (2010). Children’s self-assessment of their school work in elementary school. Education 3–13, 38(1), 5–11.Google Scholar
  21. Eva, K. W., & Regehr, G. (2008a). “I’ll never play professional football” and other fallacies of self-assessment. Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions, 28(1), 14–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Eva, K. W., & Regehr, G. (2008b). Knowing when to look it up: A new conception of self-assessment ability. Academic Medicine, 82(10), 46–54.Google Scholar
  23. Falchikov, N., & Boud, D. (1989). Student self-assessment in higher education: A meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research, 59(4), 395–430.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Flavell, J. H., & Wellman, H. (1977). Metamemory. In R. V. Vail & J. W. Hagen (Eds.), Perspectives on the development of memory and cognition (pp. 220–241). Hillsdale: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  25. Flower, L., & Hayes, J. (1980). The dynamics of composing: Making plans and juggling constraints. In C. Frederikson & J. Dominic (Eds.), Writing: Process, development and communication (pp. 39–58). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  26. Garner, W. R. (1974). The processing of information and structure. Potomac, MD: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  27. Gentner, D., Anggoro, F. K., & Klibanoff, R. S. (2011). Structure mapping and relational language support children’s learning of relational categories. Child Development, 82(4), 1173–1188.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Gentner, D., Loewenstein, J., & Thompson, L. (2003). Learning to transfer: A general role for analogical encoding. Journal of Educational Psychology, 95(2), 393–408.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Gibson, E. J. (1969). Principles of perceptual learning and development. NY: Meredith Corporation.Google Scholar
  30. Gibson, J., & Gibson, E. J. (1955). Perceptual learning: Differentiation or enrichment. Psychological Review, 62, 32–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Gick, M. L., & Holyoak, K. J. (1983). Schema induction and analogical transfer. Cognitive Psychology, 15(1), 1–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Glaser, C., & Brunstein, J. C. (2007). Improving fourth-grade students’ composition skills: Effects of strategy instruction and self-regulation procedures. Journal of Educational Psychology, 99(2), 297–310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Graham, S. (2006). Writing. In P. A. Alexander & P. Winne (Eds.), Handbook of educational psychology (pp. 457–478). New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  34. Graham, S., & Harris, K. R. (2000). The role of self-regulation and transcription skills in writing and writing development. Educational Psychologist, 35, 3–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Graham, S., & Harris, K. R. (2003). Students with learning disabilities and the process of writing: A meta-analysis of SRSD studies. In H. L. Swanson, K. R. Harris, & S. Graham (Eds.), Handbook of learning disabilities (pp. 323–344). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  36. Graham, S., & Hebert, M. (2011). Writing-to-read: A meta-analysis of the impact of writing and writing instruction on reading. Harvard Educational Review, 81(4), 710–744.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Graham, S., Kiuhara, S., McKeown, D., & Harris, K. R. (2012). A meta-analysis of writing instruction for students in the elementary grades. Journal of Educational Psychology, 104(4), 879–896.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Graham, S., & Perin, D. (2007). A meta-analysis of writing instruction for adolescent students. Journal of Educational Psychology, 99(3), 445–476.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Greene, J. A., & Azevedo, R. (2007). A theoretical review of Winne and Hadwin’s model of self-regulated learning: New perspectives and directions. Review of Educational Research, 77(3), 334–372.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Hacker, D. J., Keener, M. C., & Kircher, J. C. (2009). Writing is applied metacognition. In D. J. Hacker, J. Dunlosky, & A. C. Graesser (Eds.), Handbook of metacognition in education (pp. 154–173). New York: Taylor & Francis Group.Google Scholar
  41. Harris, K. R., & Graham, S. (1992). Helping young writers master the craft: Strategy instruction and self-regulation in the writing process. Cambridge, MA: Brookline.Google Scholar
  42. Harris, K. R., Graham, S., Brindle, M., & Sandmel, K. (2009). Metacognition and children’s writing. In D. J. Hacker, J. Dunlosky, & A. C. Graesser (Eds.), Handbook of metacognition in education (pp. 131–153). New York: Taylor & Francis Group.Google Scholar
  43. Harris, K. R., Santangelo, T., & Graham, S. (2010). Metacognition and strategies instruction in writing. In H. S. Waters & W. Schneider (Eds.), Metacognition, strategy use and instruction (pp. 226–256). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  44. Hattikudur, S., & Alibali, M. W. (2010). Learning about the equal sign: Does comparing with inequality symbols help? Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 107(1), 15–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Hestenes, D. (1987). Toward a modeling theory of physics instruction. American Journal of Physics, 55(5), 440–454.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Higham, P. A. (2013). Regulating accuracy on university tests with the plurality option. Learning and Instruction, 24, 26–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Houghton Mifflin Social Studies Textbook Support. (1999). A message of ancient days: Unit Activities and Resources. Orlando, FL: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.Google Scholar
  48. Kitzantas, A., & Zimmerman, B. J. (2006). Enhancing self-regulation of practice: The influence of graphing and self-evaluative standards. Metacognition and Learning, 1(3), 201–212.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Koriat, A. (2012). The relationships between monitoring, regulation and performance. Learning and Instruction, 22(4), 296–298.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Koriat, A., Ma’ayan, H., & Nussinson, R. (2006). The intricate relationships between monitoring and control in metacognition: Lessons for the cause-and-effect relation between subjective experience and behavior. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 135, 35–69.Google Scholar
  51. Kostons, D., van Gog, T., & Paas, F. (2011). Training self-assessment and task-selection skills: A cognitive approach to improving self-regulated learning. Learning and Instruction, 22(2), 121–132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Labuhn, A. S., Zimmerman, B. J., & Hasselhorn, M. (2010). Enhancing students’ self-regulation and mathematics performance: The influence of feedback and self-evaluative standards. Metacognition and Learning, 5(2), 173–194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Lin, X. D. (2001). Designing metacognitive activities. Educational Technology Research and Development, 49(2), 23–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Lin, X. D., & Bransford, J. D. (2010). Personal background knowledge influences cross-cultural understanding. Teachers College Record, 12(7), 1729–1757.Google Scholar
  55. Lin, X. D., Schwartz, D., & Hatano, G. (2005). Toward teachers’ adaptive metacognition. Educational Psychologist, 40(4), 245–255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Lin, X. D., Siegler, R., & Sullivan, F. (2010). Students’ goals influence their learning. In R. J. Sternburg & D. D. Preiss (Eds.), Innovations in educational psychology: Perspectives on learning, teaching and human development (pp. 79–105). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  57. McCabe, A., & Peterson, C. (1984). What makes a good story? Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 13(6), 457–480.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Metcalfe, J. (2009). Metacognitive judgments and control of study. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 18(3), 159–163.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Moskal, B. M. (2003). Recommendations for developing classroom performance assessments and scoring rubrics. Practical Assessment, Research and Evaluation, 8(14). Retrieved April 12, 2012 from http://PAREonline.net/getvn.asp?v=8&n=14.
  60. Nelson, T. O. (1984). A comparison of current measures of the accuracy of feeling-of-knowing predictions. Psychological Bulletin, 95, 109–133.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Norcini, J. (2003). Peer assessment of competence. Medical Education, 37(6), 539–543.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Pintrich, P. R. (2000). An achievement goal theory perspective on issues in motivation terminology, theory, and research. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 25, 92–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Pintrich, P. R. (2004). A conceptual framework for assessing motivation and self-regulated learning in college students. Educational Psychology Review, 16(4), 385–407.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Pintrich, P. R., Conley, A. M., & Kempler, T. M. (2003). Current issues in achievement goal theory and research. International Journal of Educational Research, 39(34–5), 319–337.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Pressley, M., & Harris, K. R. (2006). Cognitive strategies instruction: From basic research to classroom instruction. In P. A. Alexander & P. H. Winne (Eds.), Handbook of educational psychology (pp. 265–286). New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  66. Richland, L. E., & McDonough, I. M. (2010). Learning by analogy: Discriminating between potential analogs. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 35, 28–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Rittle-Johnson, B., & Star, J. R. (2007). Does comparing solution methods facilitate conceptual and procedural knowledge? An experimental study on learning to solve equations. Journal of Educational Psychology, 99(3), 561–574.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Rittle-Johnson, B., & Star, J. R. (2009). Compared to what? The effects of different comparisons on conceptual knowledge and procedural flexibility for equation solving. Journal of Educational Psychology, 101(3), 529–544.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Sargeant, J. (2008). Toward a common understanding of self-assessment. Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions, 28(1), 1–4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Sargeant, J., Mann, K., van der Vleuten, C., & Metsemakers, J. (2008). “Directed” self-assessment: Practice and feedback within a social context. Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions, 28(1), 47–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Scardamalia, B., & Bereiter, C. (1985). Fostering the development of self-regulation in children’s knowledge processing. In S. Chipman, J. Segal, & R. Glaser (Eds.), Thinking and learning skills: Current research and open questions (pp. 563–577). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  72. Schneider, P., & Winship, S. (2002). Adults’ judgments of fictional story quality. Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research, 45(2), 372–383.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Schraw, G. (2009). A conceptual analysis of five measures of metacognitive monitoring. Metacognition and Learning, 4, 33–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Schwartz, D. L., & Bransford, J. D. (1998). A time for telling. Cognition and Instruction, 16(4), 475–522.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Schwartz, D. L., Chase, C. C., Oppezzo, M. A., & Chin, D. B. (2011). Practicing versus inventing with contrasting cases: The effects of telling first on learning and transfer. Journal of Educational Psychology, 103(4), 759–775.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Schwartz, D. L., & Martin, T. (2004). Inventing to prepare for future learning: The hidden efficiency of encouraging original student production in statistics instruction. Cognition and Instruction, 22(2), 129–184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Thiede, K. W., & Dunlosky, J. (1999). Toward a general model of self-regulated study: An analysis of selection of items for study and self-paced study time. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 25(4), 1024–1037.Google Scholar
  78. Thompson, L., Gentner, D., & Loewenstein, J. (2000). Avoiding missed opportunities in managerial life: Analogical training more powerful than individual case training. Organization Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 82, 60–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Tsivitanidou, O. E., Zacharia, Z. C., & Hovardas, T. (2011). Investigating secondary school students’ unmediated peer assessment skills. Learning and Instruction, 21(4), 506–519.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Van Loon, M. H., de Bruin, A. B. H., van Gog, T., & van Merrienboer, J. J. G. (2013). Activation of inaccurate prior knowledge affects primary-school students’ metacognitive judgments and calibration. Learning and Instruction, 24, 15–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. VanLehn, K., & Van De Sande, B. (2009). Acquiring conceptual expertise from modeling: The case of elementary physics. In K. A. Ericsson (Ed.), The development of professional performance: Toward measurement of expert performance and design of optimal learning environment (pp. 356–378). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Veenman, M. V. J. (2011). Learning to self-monitor and self-regulate. In R. Mayer & P. Alexander (Eds.), Handbook of research on learning and instruction (pp. 1197–1218). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  83. Wang, S.-H., & Baillargeon, R. (2008). Can infants be ‘‘taught” to attend to a new physical variable in an event category? The case of height in covering events. Cognitive Psychology, 56(4), 284–326.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Winne, P. H. (2005). Key issues in modeling and applying research on self-regulated learning. Applied Psychology: An International Review, 54(2), 232–238.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Winne, P. H., & Nesbit, J. C. (2010). The psychology of academic achievement. Annual Review of Psychology, 61, 653–678.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Zimmerman, B. J. (2000). Attaining self-regulation: A social cognitive perspective. In M. Boekaerts, P. R. Pintrich, & M. Zeidner (Eds.), Handbook of self-regulation (pp. 13–39). San Diego: Academic Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Zimmerman, B. J. (2006). Development and adaptation of expertise: The role of self-regulatory processes and beliefs. In K. A. Ericsson, N. Charness, P. J. Feltovich, & R. R. Hoffman (Eds.), The Cambridge handbook of expertise and expert performance (pp. 705–722). Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Zimmerman, B. (2008). Investigating self-regulation and motivation: Historical background, methodological developments, and future prospects. American Educational Research Journal, 45, 166–183.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Zimmerman, B. J., & Kitsantas, A. (2002). Acquiring writing revision and self-regulatory skill through observation and emulation. Journal of Educational Psychology, 94(4), 660–668.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. Zimmerman, B. J., & Risemberg, R. (1997). Becoming a self-regulated writer: A social cognitive perspective. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 22(1), 73–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  91. Zimmerman, B., & Schunk, D. H. (2011). Handbook of self-regulation of learning and performance. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Association for Educational Communications and Technology 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiaodong Lin-Siegler
    • 1
  • David Shaenfield
    • 2
  • Anastasia D. Elder
    • 3
  1. 1.Teachers CollegeColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Sacred Heart University FairfieldUSA
  3. 3.Mississippi State UniversityStarkvilleUSA

Personalised recommendations