Do students know what they know? Exploring the accuracy of students' self-assessments

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


We have conducted an investigation into how well students in introductory science classes (both physics and chemistry) are able to predict which questions they will or will not be able to answer correctly on an upcoming assessment. An examination of the data at the level of students' overall scores reveals results consistent with the Dunning-Kruger effect, in which low-performing students tend to overestimate their abilities, while high-performing students estimate their abilities more accurately. Similar results have been widely reported in the science education literature. Breaking results out by students' responses to individual questions, however, reveals that students of all ability levels have difficulty distinguishing questions which they are able to answer correctly from those that they are not able to answer correctly. These results have implications for the future study and reporting of students' metacognitive abilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number020103
JournalPhysical Review Special Topics - Physics Education Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 17 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • General Physics and Astronomy


Dive into the research topics of 'Do students know what they know? Exploring the accuracy of students' self-assessments'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this