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PEER ASSESSMENT

The ‘How and Why’ behind a pinnacle tool in education

Drs Jo Szewczyk and Marsia Bealby


for University of the People
WHAT IS PEER ASSESSMENT?

Peer Assessment: What is it at UoPeople?


• It is a process where students assess work of their peers
• Looking at the problem from a different perspective
• Applying knowledge in a reflective way
• It can take the form of:
• Anonymous and random grouping review in Written/Programming Assessments
• Direct reviews of peers that you choose in the Discussion forum
• Peer assessment is monitored and supervised by course instructors
• Ensures that all students are assessed appropriately
• Allows instructors to better focus on the teaching experience
• Directly improves the students’ learning experience
IS IT REQUIRED?

Do I have to peer assess?


• Requirement of the course
• If you do not assess your peers, you are not performing the entire assignment task
• You risk failure for that assignment and the course
• You are telling your fellow students that their hard work is not worth your time in reviewing
• Violating the philosophy of education as a human right, a philosophy upon which the
university is built
WHY DO WE PEER ASSESS?

Why Peer Assess? Why not a ‘traditional’ method?


• Peer assessment is a traditional model of teaching (White 2009).
• Peer assessment model is a primary instruction tool throughout universities
• Peer Assessment at UoPeople is done in a structured and strategic way.
• instructors to spend more time on academic facilitation and less time on summative assessments
• The process encourages collaboration and development of leadership skills among students.
• Benefits all students directly (Race, Brown & Smith, 2005)
• Student’s learning, quality of study, and soft skills increase (Stiggins, 2008).
BUT DOES IT REALLY HELP?

Does it really help? Why can’t I see the value?


• Peer assessment is a new process for many students.
• Growing pains that are sometimes felt are worth the investment.
• Part of mastering a subject is being able to ‘teach it back’ to a peer (Magin & Helmore, 2001).
• By reviewing someone’s work you are then able to apply the concepts you have learned in a
style such that you explore, via your peer’s work, your combined understanding of the objective
and subject matter (Spilchuk, 2009).
• Peer Assessment is learning through engagement (Connely & Clandinin, 1990).
• As a working adult, it is vital that you can offer positive, but critical, feedback. It is also vital that
you are able to receive such feedback in a positive manner. Being able to incorporate the
feedback in your growth as a person (Papinczak, Young & Groves, 2007).
WHERE DO I ASSESS?

Assignments and Discussion Forums


• Peer Assessment with Assignments
• Three peers to assess
• Moodle will group you randomly after the due date for the assignment
• It is an anonymous assessment
• Peer Assessment with Discussion Forums
• Requirement to rate and provide feedback to three posts from your
peers
• Rating is anonymous, but the feedback is not
• Feedback is a central catalyst for open discussion
HOW DOES THE GRADING WORK?

The Submission and the Assessment Scores


• Two scores per week assignment: The Submission and the Assessment
• The scores, when added together, are your total Assignment score
• Submission grade
• Based upon the average score your peers gave you for that assignment
• Usually based out of 90 points
• Assessment grade
• Based on how close you were to your peers when you assessed your grouped assignments
for the week
• Performed by Moodle’s algorithm
• Usually based out of 10 points
CRITERIA FOR ASSESSMENTS

Assignments and Discussions


• Assignment
• Rubric that you can view during the assessment phase
• Asked to judge/rate your fellow student and provide feedback/reasons for that rating
throughout the assessment form
• Crucial that you read through the assessment and the assignment before assessing
• Remember, you must give written feedback and not just a score to successfully
complete your assessment
• Discussion
• Rubric as part of the discussion forum page
• Basic scale (1-10)
• 1 is Poor; 10 is Excellent
COMMON CONCERNS FROM
STUDENTS NEW TO PEER ASSESSMENT
Okay, I see how peer assessment can be
useful, but…
• Don’t students lack the knowledge to assess?
• Students are supported
• The process is progressive—the more you experience it, the more you will learn.
• Students learn through effective training
• How is this method fair?
• UoPeople has implemented several safeguards in the grading process to ensure fairness
and consistency
• Peer assessors are assigned randomly in each course for assignments
• Designed to minimize potential inaccuracies and problems that might occur in the
grading process
• Course Instructors oversee the entire process
• If the required number of students do not complete their assessments and/or ratings
• Your Course Instructor will grade if nobody else did, when notified by you
WHAT IF I AM UNSATISFIED WITH
MY SCORE?
I don’t think I was graded fairly…
• Reflect on your assignment with the comments. Most students, upon reflection, will see that
the assessment is reasonable (White, 2009)
• Contact your instructor
• Your instructor has complete oversight of the grades given in this course
• Your instructor will review the assessment and, if appropriate, they will change the grade
• The review can happen immediately or at the end of the term
• When you email your instructor:
• Include detailed information
• Course
• Your name as it is on Moodle
• Unit #
• Discussion or Assignment
• Why you think you are unfairly graded
• Some instructors have a cut-off time when complaints can be handled
WHAT IF I NEED ADDITIONAL HELP?

Additional Support with Peer Assessment


• Peer Assessment Office (PAO)
• Fine-tune peer assessment skills
• You can find this office by looking under your courses tab
• Listed as an Optional course
• If you cannot find this resource, please contact your Program Advisor for assistance
REFERENCES

References
Connelly, M. & Clandinin, J. (1990). Stories of experience and narrative inquiry. Educational
Researcher, 19(4), 2-13.
Magin, D. & Helmore, P. (2001). Peer and teacher assessments of oral presentation skills: how
reliable are they? Studies in Higher Education, 26(3), 288-297.
Papinczak, T., Young, L., & Groves, M., (2007). Peer assessment in problem-based
learning: a qualitative study. Advances in Health Science Education, 12, 169-186.
Race, P., Brown, S. & Smith, B. (2005). 500 tips on assessment. London: Routledge.
Spellchuck, B. (2009). Shila’s story of teaching English/ESL in a Singapore primary
neighbourhood school. Asian EFL Journal, 33.
Stiggins, R. (2008). Assessment manifesto. Assessment Training Institute. Retrieved on
June 4, 2008 from www.assessmentinst.com/forms/AssessmentManifesto.pdf
White, E. (2009). Student perspectives of peer assessment for learning in a public speaking
course. Asian EFL Journal,33.