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How Well Do Students Self Assess?

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Assessing Teaching and Learning

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.641.1 - 8.641.7

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Paper Authors

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Henry Welch

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3530

How Well Do Students Self-Assess?

Henry L. Welch, Ph.D., P.E. Professor Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department Milwaukee School of Engineering

Abstract It is the goal of this paper to examine the hypotheses that students are poor self-assessors of their technical ability and that their ability varies with maturity and level of technical competence. In the winter of 1999-2000 faculty members in the computer and software engineering programs at the Milwaukee School of Engineering began surveying students to determine their self-perceived success at achieving the published objectives for each course they took. After some initial promising results this assessment was added to the standard battery of metrics for ABET assessment at the course level. In the Spring of 2000 a pilot study was begun to more rigorously examine the validity of these surveys as an assessment metric. The initial cohort for this study consisted of the entire freshman class of computer engineering and software engineering that entered in the fall of 1999. The goal was to track these students longitudinally as they progressed through their studies and to compare their self-assessment survey results relative to their course grades. This cohort is now in their senior year. The results of this study will be presented along with conclusions on how this metric can be appropriately used in an assessment plan.

Introduction The current MSOE Computer Engineering (CompE) and Software Engineering (SE) ABET assessment plans calls for faculty to have the students assess the degree to which they feel they meet the course objectives and how well the course has facilitated this. This longitudinal study was conceived to determine the usefulness of this assessment rubric and to make proposals for its future use.

Starting in the Spring term of 2000 it was decided by the joint CompE/SE curriculum committee to begin tracking the results of the course objective assessment with individual student performance. This required that each student’s objective survey be traceable back to the student and that the course and final exam grade be recorded. Due to irregularities in data collection and discussion among the faculty it was decided that only the course grade would be utilized and that comparative analysis would only be performed with the self-assessment data from the student and not the assessment data of the course. This may be revisited in a future study. A sample survey vehicle is attached as Appendix A.

One of the initial focuses of the study was to determine how effective students are at self- assessing. This was viewed from two perspectives, how well they self-assess and do they improve as self-assessors as they mature through the two curricula. These were represented by two hypotheses:

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Welch, H. (2003, June), How Well Do Students Self Assess? Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee.

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