When students first arrive at university they are usually highly dependent on the direction and feedback provided by their tutors. But as they move through their degree, it is vital that they are able to critically reflect on both their own progress and that of their peers. Providing opportunities for students to engage in effective peer assessment is a powerful mechanism to support their transition to becoming independent learners.
Peer assessment is a valuable way to help students reduce their dependence on the views and advice of tutors. But although peer assessment activities can significantly enrich students’ learning, asking students to engage in peer assessment is unlikely to work unless they are properly introduced to it.
Example: using peer assessment with international students
When Jane Armstrong, a tutor on UCA’s MBA course, noticed that her students struggled to provide effective feedback on the work of their peers, she designed an activity to help them. The cohort consisted of a significant percentage of international students, and Jane had observed that while the students provided supportive comments during a group crit, their feedback was more complimentary than constructive and lacked criticality.
The activity consisted of three parts:
- a written brief, advising them what questions they would need to address during the crit. These questions were aligned to the assessment criteria.
- a face-to-face briefing, during which students could raise any questions they had about the approaching crit.
- the crit itself, during which students were given the questions to answer along with ‘prompts’ to guide their observations and feedback
Jane talks through the peer assessment activity in this video,