Facilitating an Effective Discussion on Implementing Peer Assessment

Group of students sitting at table with laptop doing group assignment

Implementing a new educational tool in your classroom can be a big learning curve for both yourself, as the instructor, as well as your students. However, getting started with Kritik with the right resources and a well-thought out communication plan can make a difference.

In this article, we will be guiding you on how to conduct effective discussions in your classes to provide students with context and clarity on why you are integrating peer assessment that sets them up for success. Here’s what we will be covering:

  • What is Peer Assessment
  • 3 Steps to Facilitate Effective Discussions on Peer Assessment
  • How to Deal with Difficult Conversations around Peer Assessment
  • Student FAQs on Kritik and Peer Assessment

What is Peer Assessment

Peer assessment provides students with the opportunity to read their peers’ work and give structured criticism and helpful feedback that can contributes to better engagement and a better understanding of their course concepts. As students are repeatedly asked to evaluate their peers’ submissions, they learn to give and receive feedback and deliver better quality work.

Peer assessment can be a new learning experience for your students and it is essential to provide support, and resources, and most importantly discuss the purpose of implementing peer assessment into their learning. Students may have new solutions and ideas that their evaluators would not have thought of. Exposure to diverse perspectives encourages students to broaden their horizons and even fill learning gaps that may exist.

Check out how you can support student process with the peer assessment process.

Professors and instructors in a meeting

3 Steps to Facilitate Effective Discussions on Peer Assessment

1. Align it with your course learning objectives

When preparing your course outline, you must highlight how using a peer assessment tool like Kritik can help achieve the learning objectives.

Example 1: Arts & Humanities courses

  • Course Objective: Garner multiple ideas and perspectives for students to get a wholesome view of the topic
  • How does Kritik help? Kritik gives students the opportunity to give feedback anonymously on their peers’ work. This will help students appreciate diverse point of views and debate in a peaceful manner.

Example 2: STEM courses

  • Course Objective: Students should utilize the information and insights on what they’ve learned to apply them to the final project.
  • How does Kritik help? Through the peer evaluation process, Kritik allows students to fill the learning gaps that may exist. As students progress with every successive assignment they build a strong  grasp on the subject by the time their final project is due.

2. Demonstrate Value with your assignments

Whether you have individual or team-based assignments, weekly or less frequent assignments, students must see how peer feedback can add to their learning experience. 

Example 1: Large Class sizes

If you are teaching a course with 100+ students, giving personalized feedback, even with the support of TAs, it may take time to turnaround. With Kritik your students are getting timely and personalized feedback in less than a week. This allows them to apply the feedback in their future submissions.

Example 2: Small Class sizes

In small class sizes where discussions can be more intimate, students get a closer view on how their peers’ interaction with the course content is different from their own. As they become peers even when they join the workforce, Kritik gives them the platform to give critical and meaningful feedback to improve their learning.

3. Do a mid-term review

Let your students know that you will be reviewing their experience with peer evaluation at the halfway point. This gives your students an opportunity to be heard, along with giving you the chance to make changes to your rubrics or assignments before it is too late.

Watch how Dr. David Wang from University of Waterloo introduced Kritik to his students.

How to Deal with Difficult Conversations around Peer Assessment

Introducing a new tool could be met with some resistance from your students. You may have students who do not understand the purpose of Kritik and may see it as just more work. As an instructor, introducing the tool as an aid to their learning experience is important.

By talking about the positive impact on their hard and soft skills, the opportunity to learn through reviewing others' work and receiving feedback will help set the tone right. At first, students may find it difficult to see the long-term benefits, but you could explain the importance of feedback for their professional development irrespective of the career path they choose for themselves.

If students are still struggling to understand the concept, it is important to listen to their thoughts. Perhaps they are still confused or do not see the benefit. Creating an effective discussion means listening to the students' opinions as well.

Student FAQs on Kritik and Peer Assessment

Below there is a list of common questions students have about Kritik. Presenting these answers could help students see the benefits of peer assessment and prevent pushback.

1. What if my classmates give me a bad score because they received a bad score in the past?

Kritik is completely anonymous, so students can not see who edited their work. Additionally, students are graded on how accurately they assess their peers. A student’s grading power is determined by how close they are to the overall average grade for the creation. This means if a student grades another student very poorly, and the other evaluators grade highly, the student that graded poorly will have a lower final grade.

2. What if I receive poor evaluations on my work when I take the time to provide in-depth evaluations?

Students must provide at least 80 characters when making an evaluation. Therefore, the evaluation cannot be too short. Students must also pick at least 1 criterion from the rubric to provide written feedback on. This helps ensure everyone gets quality feedback. If a student is being rude or unhelpful entirely, the author of the creation may flag the evaluation to the instructor. If the instructor believes the evaluation was unfair, they can grade the work themselves and provide a new grade and feedback. This way the student can receive the in-depth evaluation they deserve. 

Learn more on how you can address ineffective feedback.

3. What if I disagree with my peers’ score on my work?

There may be times when a student disagrees with the feedback they received. In this scenario, the student can again use the dispute function within Kritik to flag it to their instructor. Statistically, less than 4% of students disputed their grades on Kritik out of 140,000 peer-evaluated student assignments.Once the instructor is alerted of the dispute, they can go in and change the grade if necessary. 

Explaining this function to students will help them worry less about their peer assessment experience and make them feel heard by the instructor

Learn more on how Kritik ensures Accountability in the Peer Assessment process.

How to Move Forward with Peer Assessment

If this guide is followed, instructors and students should have a positive and effective discussion about Kritik. Students are open to change when they are told the purpose. They also want to be heard by instructors, which is why having an effective discussion is important. 

If you have any more questions about this topic and your course specifically, feel free to email support@kritik.io or contact our Live Chat on our website for immediate assistance.

Beverleigh Kennedy
Education Researcher