Engaging Students with Peer Assessment

Two students doing work on a laptop sitting across from each other

We learn from each other. As babies, we learned by watching our parents. As youth, we observe and unintentionally and intentionally analyze peers, situations and surroundings to form social cues. As adults, we learn how and when to be adaptable, flexible and to assert ourselves. While the ebb and flow of responding, reacting and learning happens every day, educators have found ways to make this learning a purposeful experience in the classroom. This is referred to as peer assessment. 

Many professors have incorporated peer evaluation, or peer assessment, to encourage trust within the classroom, online or in person. Peer assessment can make learning more engaging and provide opportunities for students to develop higher-order skills. 

Peer assessment is valued by peers and instructors, alike:

In 2013, Catherine Moore and Susan Teather, out of Edith Cowen University in Australia, conducted a study to gauge how peer assessment was received by students. Their surveys found students appreciated being able to collaborate with others, receive different inputs from peers, evoke new ideas from peers, and collaborate with those in a similar position, making it easier to empathize with others (Moore & Teather, 2013). Every student surveyed found the peer assessment process to be useful with 58.3% of students indicating their experience with peer assessment was incredibly useful, or very useful. 

All this said, peer assessment has its struggles too. The study found students who disapproved of peer assessment did so for two primary reasons: 1) students did not want their peers’ marks included in their overall final mark, and 2) students did not like when peer assessment was completed solely for marking.  In other words, the students wanted their professor to have the final say over their grades with the ability to override any student assessment, and they were seeking a more fulfilling assessment experience prioritizing the learning and opportunity for feedback over the specific grade.

Four criteria for successful peer assessment:

  1. Utilize a feedback rubric  - Use a rubric to provide clear instructions to students. Kritik has an excellent rubric system fully customizable to fit the individual needs of the professor and students. (David Kofoed Wind, 2018).
Kritik’s sample rubric template

  1. Anonymity of the feedback - Many students feel nervous when sharing their work with their peers. Kritik supports anonymous peer assessment to ensure students feel comfortable sharing their work while providing bias-free feedback. (David Kofoed Wind, 2018).

Kritik’s proprietary peer assessment platform (showing “anonymous”)

  1. Review and authenticate feedback from peers - A common fear of students is receiving unfair grades from their peers. Kritik’s proprietary AI-driven flagging system ensures students are evaluated fairly by aligning student assessments with the feedback provided by the professor or TA. Students also have the option to dispute a grade within Kritik if they feel it did not accurately reflect their work, or if there were extenuating circumstances affecting the quality of work.

Kritik’s dispute UI
Kritik’s activity insights page for grading and peer assessment

  1. Feedback on Feedback - Once a student provides a peer assessment, it is important they understand how helpful and accurate their feedback was. Kritik has a built-in system supporting feedback on feedback to ensure students learn to become more effective evaluators over time. 
(Kritik’s Feedback on Feedback UI)

Whatever system you chose to use to facilitate peer assessment, it should meet the needs of students, while providing a reliable and streamlined user experience. Consider checking out Kritik to enable peer assessment, while making the grading process more meaningful and efficient. 

David Kofoed Wind. (2018, February 12). Five Ways to Make Peer Feedback Effective In Your Classroom. EdSurge; EdSurge. https://www.edsurge.com/news/2018-02-12-five-ways-to-make-peer-feedback-effective-in-your-classroom 

Get invaluable insights and visibility on student engagement. (2020). Kritik.io. https://www.kritik.io/features/insights 

Harness collective intelligence to enable students to become better evaluators. (2020). Kritik.io. https://www.kritik.io/features/feedback 

Institutions. (2020). Kritik.io. https://www.kritik.io/institutions 

Ko, A. J. (2019, March 16). Grading is ineffective, harmful, and unjust — let’s stop doing it. Medium; Bits and Behavior. https://medium.com/bits-and-behavior/grading-is-ineffective-harmful-and-unjust-lets-stop-doing-it-52d2ef8ffc47 

Moore, C., & Teather, S. (2013). Engaging students in peer review: Feedback as learning. Curtin.edu.au. https://litec.curtin.edu.au/events/conferences/tlf/tlf2013/refereed/moore.html 

Streamline your workflow with customizable rubrics. (2020). Kritik.io. https://www.kritik.io/features/rubrics 

Justin DeMarchi
Content Marketer and Education Consultant