This inquiry investigated the impact that an increased focus on self-evaluation with five and six year old children had on their writing ability. It also explored the value of self-reflection with younger children as a learning tool.
The inquiry report begins with a definition of terms which occur frequently in the literature of the field. The terms metacognition, self-regulation, self-evaluation and self-assessment are explored and defined. Within the research, there were conflicting findings on the readiness of five and six year old children to self-evaluate accurately. Some suggested that children might not be ready to self-assess their work accurately (Dunning, Heath and Suls, 2004), though other research claimed that children as young as three can self-reflect meaningfully (Whitbread et al, 2009). Literature also found that when assessing their writing children needed a rubric or success criteria to guide their judgements (Bingham, Holbrook and Meyers, 2010).
A set of ‘permanent success criteria’ were developed with the pupils, these criteria were used by those pupils to assess their own written work. All children then carried out one baseline writing task without the success criteria and two subsequent writing tasks with the success criteria. Evidence was gathered from six of the children using teacher and pupil assessments of their written work, transcripts of children’s speak during the writing tasks, and interviews with children after the writing tasks. These six children were chosen as a representative sample of the class as a whole.
Findings suggest that giving success criteria to the children improved their quality in those specific areas, though not significantly in their overall writing quality. It also found that the children increased the number of self-evaluative utterances as they progressed through the intervention. Furthermore, the inquiry highlights the potential that such young children have with self-evaluation and self-reflection.
© Richard Hall