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How Chinese higher education students perceive and engage in self-assessment within the Integrated Quality Assessment (IQA) system: Threats to the validity of IQA self-assessment

Tianxin Li, Eleanor Hawe, and Gavin T. L. Brown

The Integrated Quality Assessment (IQA) in China is an officially mandated system that uses student self-assessment in addition to information provided by tests and examinations and other sources to make judgements about student achievement across a range of qualities. Officially, this system of assessment serves two purposes: to help students become more aware of their strengths and weaknesses and to provide summative scores and grades that are used to allocate scholarships and other valued outcomes. The small-scale exploratory study reported in this article investigated People’s Republic of China (PRC) students’ experiences and perceptions of IQA and self-assessment within the IQA system. Fifteen Chinese students studying at a New Zealand university who had the experience of IQA self-assessment in their undergraduate degrees participated in individual semistructured interviews. Findings highlighted how, when individuals perceived IQA self-assessment as low stakes, they went through the motions without any deep engagement, while those who perceived the same situation as high stakes did whatever was deemed necessary to achieve their goals. For this latter group of students, IQA self-assessment encouraged, reinforced, and rewarded less-than-honest and inaccurate self-evaluations, calling into question the validity of IQA and self-assessment within this system.

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