Driver education in some countries has recently come to include drivers’ risk awareness and evaluation of their own knowledge and abilities instead of focusing only on drivers’ knowledge and abilities, measured by tests or expert judgements. Drivers’ selfassessment has also been in focus in a new curriculum for driver education in Sweden. When this new curriculum is introduced, the driving-license test will have to be altered according to the new goals of the curriculum and new strategies for measuring drivers’ self-assessment have to be employed. There is limited knowledge of how self-assessment of driver competence should be measured. Therefore, the overall purpose of this literature study was to examine how self-assessment in general is measured in different fields. In addition, the purpose was to investigate how self-assessments of driver competence have been measured and also whether the methods used for self-assessment in general and for self-assessment of driver competence could be applied to the driver education system in order to measure the goals of the curriculum.
Studies about self-assessment of abilities and knowledge were reviewed. Since selfassessments might be slightly unreliable because of the respondents’ willingness to answer in a socially desirable way, the self-assessments could be compared to external measures. The conclusion was that the studies reviewed showed a homogenous picture. In general, the studies showed that there is a relationship between self-assessments and external measures, but the strength of the relationship varies between different studies. In addition, the relationship between self-assessment and external measures is affected by various factors. One such factor is the competence of the test-taker. Competent test-takers are more likely to make a realistic self-assessment than less competent test-takers. Other factors that affect the relationship are the specificity of the domains assessed, the difficulty of the domain assessed and if a relative or absolute judgement is made. Studies have also shown that the accuracy of self-assessment could be improved by different interventions such as education and observation of one’s own performance.
When examining studies of self-assessed driver competence and comparing them to studies of self-assessment in general, the conclusion was that self-assessments of driver competence have rarely been related to an external measure. In order to check the validity of drivers’ self-assessments, further studies are needed in order to relate self-assessments to an external measure. There is also a need for further studies in order to investigate if the factors affecting the accuracy of self-assessment also affect drivers’ self-assessment and moreover, if drivers’ self-assessment can be improved. In the case of the Swedish driver education system, it might be possible to relate the self-assessments of knowledge and abilities to the theory test and the practical driving-license test. However, this needs to be further explored. Regarding the drivers’ self-assessment of motives for driving and personal goals, it seems more difficult to relate the self-assessment to an external measure. Therefore, one might need other strategies to judge if these goals are fulfilled.
Umeå: Institutionen för beteendevetenskapliga mätningar, Umeå universitet , 2005. , 43 p.