Peer assessment

Peer assessment

What is it?

Peer assessment is the assessment of student work by other students based on a set of rules set by their lecturer. This might be used for formative feedback or summative grading purposes. It has been recognised that engaging students in peer assessment can help you in learning to evaluate your own learning and in interpreting assessment criteria.

Why do it?
  • Increased feedback. If the scoring takes place in the classroom, then you get instant feedback. That way the assignment is still fresh in your mind, so any feedback given is more useful.
  • A sense of ownership of the assessment process. By taking part in the marking, you get a better understanding of the process and recognise your own strengths and weaknesses. You may begin to see assessed work as a source of useful feedback rather than something to be dreaded!
  • It encourages you to be more involved and take more responsibility for your learning.
  • It encourages critical analysis of your work, so you see beyond a mark or grade. Sometimes a lecturer may not have time to go over test answers and explain where you went wrong. In a peer scoring situation, you can see where you went wrong and can correct these errors in future.
  • It recognises participation in groupwork and can stop a lazy group member "coasting" on the work of others in the group.
What may go wrong
  • You may lack the ability to evaluate each other, this can be because you don't understand the scoring system - be sure to speak up if you don't anderstand it.
  • Some students may not take this marking system seriously, however, if the lecturer explains that it contributes to your final score. This problem should disappear.
  • There is a faint possibility of discrimination, however, this will soon be spotted by the lecturer and put right.

Overall the advantages of a peer scoring system outweigh the disadvantages, especially if used to assess group work.