Assessment of Student'S Confidence of Learned Knowledge

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



An important skill for students is to recognize how well they actually know the answers to realworld questions. Students may get the right answers on quiz questions, but may not be sure of their answers and may get similar questions wrong. Confidence in one's answer or design is not typically important during undergraduate schooling, but is vital in a job and in graduate education where the confidence students have in their solutions is nearly as important as the solutions themselves. The method described here uses the concept of self-efficacy to help students learn by making them assess the confidence they have in their answer and also serves as a metric by which the instructor can determine which students need help in the class. Senior students in an undergraduate level Mechanical Engineering semester-long course were instructed to indicate their confidence level on answers on each of five quizzes. The grade for each question was based on both their confidence level and whether it was right or wrong. The best case is to have the right answer and be confident in it (5 points) and the worst case is to be confident of a wrong answer (0 points). Lacking confidence in a right answer is beneficial, but not perfectly so, thus students get 4 points. Students get 2 points for admitting that they do not know or are not sure, which is the perfect answer if they do not know. Making up an answer is a very bad habit that is encouraged under typical grading schemes. An anonymous survey shows that approximately 3/4 of students were supportive of this idea and many that disliked it stated that they would have preferred grading that included partial credit. The results show that the scoring method slightly biased the students towards selecting notconfident, which is desired for training students to analyze their answers in an educational setting. Approximately 3/4 of students were able to maximize their scores by accurately assessing the correctness of their answers. Students' ability to maximize their quiz answers had a relatively low correlation to their overall course grade (R2=0.38), which indicates that students have a good knowledge of their abilities regardless of their mastery of the material.

Was this content written or created while at USF?


Citation / Publisher Attribution

American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Annual Conference