The benefits of group and peer assessment
The benefits of group assessment for students include:
- development of project planning and teamwork skills
- cohort building with peers
- strengthen confidence to work in diverse teams
- working on ‘real world’ projects or solutions-based problems
- learning how to collaborate productively in a team
The benefits of group assessment for educators include:
- the ability to implement more authentic assessment that would transfer to professional application
- to reduce some common academic integrity issues
- the ability to foster interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary skills in students
- allows for the integration of reflective practice skills for students.
There are numerous benefits of peer assessment:
- It allows students to learn how to self-assess and follow up on information provided by peers to improve their own work
- Producing and receiving feedback reviews can enhance student learning without significant impact on teacher workload
- Feedback from peers could be seen as more understandable or helpful than educator feedback because of the accessible language and different power dynamics
Well-structured peer assessment can engage students in critical thinking, application of assessment criteria, reflection and the ability to facilitate and transfer learning, increasing time on tasks and promoting student thinking, analysing, comparing and communicating. Providing students with opportunities to view and give feedback on other students’ work can also contribute to their independence as learners and promote self-regulation.
One of the most important considerations in designing group and peer assessments is in the planning. Group assessments should be used to assess the kinds of skills that may not necessarily be developed using individual assessment, such as teamwork, collaboration, and working on ‘real-world’ or authentic scenarios and tasks.
Careful planning of peer assessment is also crucial. Different contexts will mean different decisions need to be made about the assessment process, criteria, the types of feedback that students will give their peers, and managing expectations.
Well-planned group and peer assessment involves greater engagement of educators to manage groups and any issues that may arise.
As with all assessment tasks, group and peer assessments should be well designed. Because getting the task clear and well scaffolded is so critical in group or peer assessment, bringing in other educators into the process, to review and give feedback is important. The Assessment Regime Procedure requires assessment tasks developed by a staff member to be scrutinised by appropriately-qualified others, but it is also good practice to have other educators cast an eye over your draft assessment task to pick up errors and issues before you release it to students.
If you are new to group and peer assessments, call on a colleague who has successfully designed and implemented group or peer assessment to help you with the assessment design.
Many students feel ambivalent about group and peer assessment, so it is vital to prepare students. They should be supported with resources to get them started with such as how to set up team roles and expectations for ways of working in a team.
To prepare students for peer assessment, time should be taken to help them understand the process and for them to then engage in the feedback and grading processes.
It is worth spending time explaining to students the benefits and value of the group (or peer) assessment task, how this is used to assess the relevant learning outcomes, and how working in teams and giving constructive feedback is a transferable skill that is used frequently within collaborative working environments.
This MEA module examines how culture may influence teaching and learning through the example of group work.
Making students comfortable with their peers is highly beneficial to group and peer assessment. This MEA module provides a range of strategies which assist educators to build classroom community quickly, and effectively.