Output Education

Education Blog



22 June, 2016

Peer assessment enables instructors to share the assessment of assignments with their students. It is grounded in theories of active learning (Piaget, ’71), adult learning (Cross, ’81) and social constructionism (Vygotsky, ’62).

Purpose of peer-assessment

Peer assessment can:

  • Empower students to take accountability for, and manage, their own learning.
  • Allow students to learn to assess and to develop life-long assessment skills.
  • Improve students’ learning through knowledge diffusion and exchange of ideas.
  • Motivate students to get involved with course material more deeply.

Integrating peer-assessment

  • Identify assignments or activities for which students might benefit from peer feedback.
  • Take into account breaking a larger assignment into smaller pieces and integrating peer assessment chances at each stage. For example, assignment outline, first draft, second draft, etc.
  • Design guidelines or rubrics with clearly defined tasks for the reviewer.
  • Introduce rubrics through learning exercises to make sure students have the ability to apply the rubric effectively.
  • Determine whether peer review activities will be done as in-class or out-of-class assignments; for out-of-class assignments, peer assessments can be facilitated online by Blackboard.
  • Help students learn to carry out peer assessment by modeling appropriate, constructive criticism and descriptive feedback through your own comments on student work and well-constructed rubrics.
  • Integrate small feedback groups where written comments on assignments can be explained and discussed with the receiver.

What else should to consider when integrating peer-assessment

  • Let students be aware of the rationale for doing peer review; explain the expectations and benefits of getting involved in a peer review process.
  • Consider having students evaluate anonymous assignments for more objective feedback.
  • Be ready to give feedback on students’ feedback to each other. Display some examples of feedback of varying quality and discuss which kind of feedback is useful and why.
  • Give clear directions and time limits for in-class peer review sessions and set defined deadlines for out-of-class peer review assignments.
  • Listen to group feedback discussions and provide guidance and input when necessary.
  • Student familiarity and ownership of criteria tend to enhance peer assessment validity; therefore, involve students in a discussion of the criteria used.
  • Students have more experience with academic tasks; therefore, be cautious about having them peer-assess professional tasks: choose tasks that lie within their relative experiential base.
  • Motivate students to take more individual accountability by not having multiple peers assess the same task.