Monday, 30 November 2015

A lecturer perspective on peer assessment

When it comes to student learning, there is no activity with greater impact than how you design your course assessment. We all know that it works best when it facilitates meaningful and engaged learning by allowing students to participate in the process and gain timely and relevant feedback. It must be fair, accurate, and manageable for those undertaking it, and this is no easy task.

There has been much written in recent times on innovations in assessment. Lecturers have long been striving for new ways to make it more valid, transparent and diverse (Race, 2007). Asking students to review and give feedback on each others work is one such approach. With the advent of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), this practice of allowing students to assess and give feedback on each others work has grown in prevalence (Bali, 2014). Surely, it makes sense that students would benefit from understanding the criteria of an assignment so well that they could appraise the work of others for quality.

But introducing peer assessment can seem to be a daunting and hazardous prospect. How well do students undertake this task- would they be too harsh or too generous in their comments? Would they benefit from seeing their own mistakes and others? What other outcomes does it bring? And most importantly - how easy is it to manage?

We spoke with Michael Coyne, in the School of Law at NUI Galway about his experience in using peer assessment with students, and heard about the benefits it brought. The result is a short three minute interview.
Watch Michael's video interview here.

Bali, M (2014). MOOC Pedagogy: Gleaning Good Practice from Existing MOOCs”, MERLOT. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 10, 1, 44-56.
Race, Phil (2007). The Lecturer's Toolkit: A practical guide to assessment, learning and teaching. 3rd edition, London: Routledge

Additional Resources: 
Blackboard's Guide to Peer Assessment
CELT Resources on Peer Assessment
JISC Exemplars of Peer Assessment

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