How to Complement Auto-Graded Assignments with Peer Assessment

Instructors teaching first-year or Intro level courses tend to see large class sizes that could vary anywhere from 100-2000 students. When designing assignments in such courses, instructors have to be mindful of three key aspects:

  • Grading and Administrative Workload to the instructor
  • Cover the core concepts for students to advance to more complex courses
  • Assignment Workload for Students

In this article, we’d like to show you how adding a peer assessment component with Kritik to your assignments can transform your students’ learning experience and still not add to your grading workload.

What is Kritik?

Kritik is a peer assessment tool that is designed to improve student engagement and reduce the instructors’ grading workload. Students experience a 360-degree peer feedback loop on Kritik in three stages: Create, Evaluate and Feedback.

All three stages of a Kritik activity

In the Create stage, students submit their work on Kritik on or before the deadline. In the Evaluate stage, students are anonymously assigned 3-5 of their peers’ work to evaluate based on a rubric. The have to provide a written feedback (qualitiative) and a numeric feedback (quantitative) based on the rubrics. In the Feedback stage, students can rate and respond to the feedback received on their work on how critical and motivational the comments were.

4 Ways Peer Assessment Can Complement Auto-Graded Assignments

Through anonymous peer assessments, students with different learning styles and capacities  have an unbiased and honest medium to learn and critique each others’ work.  Adding peer assessment, especially in large class sizes, allows instructors to get a better understanding of where the learning gaps exist.

Peer learning techniques only has advantages and can be a great equalizer for students.

1. Increased Student Engagement

Adding peer assessment can open a plethora of opportunities for engagement and learning. Students can learn how their peers approached the problem, fill existing learning gaps to improve the quality of their submissions, and learn how to write constructive feedback.

2. Focus on In-depth Learning Rather than Grades

Since Intro-level courses build the foundation for future courses, instructors can design 3-4 small stake assignments with peer assessment so that students can engage with the content more deeply. This allows students to gauge their understanding of the topic and not rely on a singular exam/term paper performance.

3. Opportunity for Collaboration and Comparison with Peers

In traditional assessment methods, where students directly submit their work to the instructor, they don’t see each other’s submissions. With peer assessment on Kritik, students evaluate their peers’ work anonymously based on the rubric given by the instructor. This enables students to see where they stand among their peers without any sense of judgement and develop a growth mindset.

4. Minimal Grading Workload for the Instructor  

While the advantages mentioned above could be seen as ‘ideal but not practical’ by an instructor, Kritik can make the implementation seamless without adding additional workload. Since the grading duties are distributed among students, the instructor or their TAs just need to oversee and spot-check a few assignments.

Watch how Prof. Jon Wisco derived value from Kritik in his class with 100+ students!

Did you know? On Kritik, students have the option to raise a dispute to the instructor if they think that their peer has graded them unfairly or incorrectly. Across disciplines and class sizes, instructors using Kritik see a 1-4% grading dispute in their courses.

3 Types of Assignments that Work Well with Peer Assessment

The following three assignments can replace your autograded assignments as they can be easily implemented in large class sizes and also facilitate meaningful interactions among students: 

1. Teach-a-Peer

Teach-a-Peer assignments fits perfectly with peer assessment as students get to learn from their classmates and also learn to give feedback. Instructors using Kritik who have adopted Teach-a-Peer type of assignments have experimented with audio, video and visual submissions (like drawing concept maps) submissions and critique each others’ work. 

Bonus: Watch how Prof. Heidi Engelhardt designed narrated powerpoint style assignments in her first-year Biochemistry class with 1700+ students.

2. Written Assignments

Peer assessment works beautifully in Language, Business, and Humanities courses, where students are tested on their ability to communicate what they have learned in the form of an essay, case study analysis, or literature review. Students use peer assessment as an opportunity to learn from their classmates and give them constructive and motivational feedback. 

Here are some examples:

1. Carol Bartlo, Alfiero School of Business, Daemen University

2. Stan Korotchenko, Department of Criminal Justice, Tarleton State University

3. Lynn Ramey, Department of French, Vanderbilt University

3. Scaffolded Assignments

In courses that requires students to put together project proposals, reports or research papers, a scaffolded approach powered by peer assessment can yield better quality submissions. By breaking down the assignments into smaller pieces students get multiple opportunities to seek feedback from their peers.

The following instructors used Kritik for scaffolded assignments and reported that by the time they receive the final version of the report, they are only giving feedback on the concept understanding and suggestions to make it better, which takes much less time to review. 

1. Valentine Kozlova, Faculty of Arts (Economics), University of Alberta

2. Gretchen Harnick, Carl H. Lindner College of Business, University of Cincinnati

3. Julie Chamberlin, Department of English, Loyola University Chicago

If you’d like to deep dive into how instructors using Kritik were able to leverage peer assessment and move away from autograded assignments in their course, download the following two case studies:

1. Prof. Alex Gainer, University of Alberta

2. Prof. Heidi Engelhardt, University of Waterloo

Preeti Ravi
Content Marketing Manager