Method Peer Assessment
Introduction
Peer assessment is one way of monitoring what is going on during a learning process. It involves students in making a formative or summative judgement of one another’s work. It has the advantage of engaging key aspects of student learning: the understanding of their learning by active involvement with the criteria of good learning, the selection of good practices/examples/evidence for these criteria and, by judging other students´ work, the understanding of effective professional action in any area. This means that peer assessment is as much a teaching/learning activity as an assessment method. Peer assessment is a good tool for large groups and/or e-learning environments.
Aim To monitor the learning process of fellow students
To assess work with learning goals in mind
To understand better the assessment criteria of the course
Target group All levels in all disciplines
Intended learning outcome
  • Better reflective skills
  • Improved metacognitive skills
  • Enhanced judgement skills vital for effective professional action
  • Increased critiquing abilities and self-awareness
Description
List the learning outcomes you want to be peer-assessed and the performances that indicate different levels of achievement of each learning outcome.

Describe the meaning and share of peer-assessment in the overall assessment of the course

Make a rubric (i.e. a scoring tool that lists the criteria for the successful completion of a piece of work) by defining the performance criteria on different levels concerning these learning outcomes. The SOLO taxonomy can help here[i]. It is an option to involve students in this part of the assessment. Ideally, this rubric is the same the teaching staff member uses for assessing the learning outcomes.

Discuss and train students in using the rubric: what do the criteria mean? What is relevant evidence against which judgement can be reached? How would an example be judged (use anonymous examples of work)?

Give practical instructions about the peer-assessment

Ideally, give feedback on their peer-assessment

Peer-assessment can be done during class or outside of class. The teaching staff member trains students in using the rubric, selecting evidence and making a judgement.

Students carry out exercises on the use of the rubric, selecting evidence and making a judgement guided by the staff member.

Preparation It is important that the teaching staff member designs in advance clear criteria or a very clear rubric for students to use. This can be done in collaboration with students. Students need to read the instructions and especially the rubric and formulate questions when something is not clear.
Required resources and equipment A scoring document (on paper or online) where is listed which aspects students need to check
Success factors Clear criteria and understanding of good evidence and judgements.
Advantages Students feel more responsible when they know their peers are going to give them feedback.
Students get to know themselves better.
Students learn to deal with feedback.
Disadvantages It takes time to train students in assessing and giving feedback.
Additional information On this link you will find an overview on peer assessment.

An article with useful designs of peer assessment:

An example of a peer-assessment document.

[i] Biggs, J.,& Tang, C. (2011). Teaching for Quality Learning at University. Fourth Edition. England: McGraw-Hill.

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