Reflective assessment for epistemic agency of academically low‐achieving students

Yang, Yuqin
August 2019
Journal of Computer Assisted Learning;Aug2019, Vol. 35 Issue 4, p459
Academic Journal
This study aimed to examine the role and process of reflective assessment supported by the Knowledge Connections Analyzer in helping low academic achievers to develop epistemic agency in knowledge building. The participants were 33 ninth‐grade low achievers from a visual arts course in Hong Kong. A comparison class of 33 students, taught by the same teacher and studying the same topics in a regular knowledge‐building environment, also participated. Qualitative tracing of students' online discourse showed that reflective assessment can help low achievers develop high‐level epistemic agency. Qualitative analysis of the students' prompt sheets revealed that reflective assessment encouraged low achievers to set knowledge‐building goals, collectively and continuously analyse and reflect on their inquiry and ideas, and generate actions to address identified gaps, thus helping them engage in high‐level epistemic agency. The study results have important implications for designing technology‐rich environments that support learners and offer insights into how teachers can help learners develop epistemic agency. Lay Description: What is already known about this topic: Low‐achieving students (LASs) are often disadvantaged in classrooms by a lack of engaging instruction that emphasizes higher‐order competencies.LASs find collaborative inquiry difficult primarily because of the lack of high‐level metacognitive skills and epistemic agency.Reflective assessment has shown its scaffolding function in developing high‐level metacognition and epistemic agency. What this paper adds: Reflective assessment using the Knowledge Connections Analyzer can help LASs to engage in epistemic agency.The design of knowledge‐building environment augmented by reflective assessment can benefit educationally disadvantaged students. Implications for practice and/or policy: Efforts should be made to design technology‐supported learning environments to help LASs to develop epistemic agency and benefit from collaborative inquiry.Knowledge‐building environment augmented by analytics‐supported reflective assessment is proposed as a promising approach to make schoolwork more interesting and accessible for LASs.


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