Shawn Beaudette: Improving Student Engagement in STEM with Peer Assessment

Prof. Shawn Beaudette, an instructor in the Department of Kinesiology at Brock University, utilizes peer assessment in his courses with over 300 students. Using Kritik as his platform for peer assessment, he found that his first-year students could engage in Kinesiology courses extensively, significantly increasing the quality of their writing and being able to maximize their learning in course objectives.

"When reflecting on these class learning objectives, this is when I stumbled upon Kritik and realized that there was a good overlap in what I wanted to do and what Kritik was able to do for me. As educators, we're always looking for innovative platforms that engage our students. I discovered Kritik last year, and it's been transformative for my teaching approach."

In this story, we will explore Prof. Beaudette’s best practices for implementing peer assessment in his Kinesiology course and get a sneak peek into his assignments and rubrics.

Download the deck and the full recording of Prof. Beaudette’s workshop.

Kinesiology and Peer Assessment

Prof. Beaudette incorporates peer assessment into his first-year Kinesiology course through Kritik, aiming to enhance student engagement and the application of learned concepts. He emphasizes the importance of learning from mistakes in low-stakes assignments, fostering a hands-on and applied learning environment. 

Over the term, students complete four assignments on Kritik, each building on concepts from previous lectures and requiring written analysis, thus improving their writing skills. 

See below for a breakdown of how Prof. Beaudette implements Kritik in his course for assessments: 

“Shawn Beaudette course mark breakdown”

Kritik Calibration

At the start of the term, Prof. Beaudette implements a Kritik Calibration exercise to acquaint students with Kritik and understand the Evaluation Rubric. The score that students get from the Calibration exercise is translated into a Grading Power  used by the algorithm for future assessments. 

Kritik Exercises

In the 4 assignments that students use Kritik for, they experience three stages: Create, Evaluate, and Feedback. Once students submit their work (Create), they are assigned 5 peer evaluations (Evaluate) to do based on the rubric, and finally, they can review and respond to the Evaluations (Feedback).

"I wanted things that are low stakes (...) wanted them (students) to focus on application, enhance their writing abilities, see a variety of different types of student work. When reflecting on these objectives (class learning objectives), this is when I stumbled upon Kritik and realized that there was a good overlap in what I wanted to do and what Kritik was able to do for me." 

Take a look at the assignment information and instructions he provided his students for the Create stage:

Activity in Professor Shawn Beaudette's Kinesiology Course
Rubric in Professor Shawn Beaudette's Kinesiology Course

Prof. Beaudette structures his rubric to guide his students when working on the content they would complete for the assignment. These rubrics allow him to lay out specific expectations for his students to get the most out of this activity.

Here is a peek into the success rate for Prof. Shawn Beaudette’s class:

Prof. Shawn Beaudette’s course statistics on Kritik

Here is a look into how the rubric played a role in the Evaluate stage for this activity:

Student Evaluation in Professor Shawn Beaudette's Kinesiology Course

Students use the rubric to score Creations and leave constructive written feedback, both qualitative and quantitative, to provide more detailed suggestions. 

The Feedback stage allows students to see the written evaluations they received from their peers on their work. This allows students to provide feedback in return for these written comments. These three stages, combined with the anonymous structure they assume, form a vital part of the course’s practical application, as envisioned by Prof. Beaudette. The reciprocal process of giving and receiving feedback on work and responses cultivates a growth-focused learning environment, encouraging the practical application of course material.

Here is a look into this process:

Student Feedback on Evaluation in Professor Shawn Beaudette's Kinesiology Course

In this feedback example, students employ a Likert scale to assess the quality of evaluators' comments, fostering peer learning and knowledge sharing.

“What's commendable about Kritik is the way it's designed to cater to both ends – the one giving feedback and the one receiving it. I've seen a considerable improvement in student interaction and the quality of discussions since we've started using Kritik."

Prof. Shawn Beaudette completes the 360-degree feedback loop on Kritik within three days. With a quick turnaround in feedback, students are led to a notable enhancement in writing skills and improved engagement.

How Kritik Assists with Peer Learning

Prof. Beaudette discovered that incorporating peer assessment enhanced student engagement, optimized learning in relation to course objectives, and enriched the teaching environment. Below, we outline three ways in which the integration of Kritik’s peer assessment benefitted his Kinesiology course.

"Initially, I was just testing Kritik as an adjunct to our traditional review methods. But seeing its effectiveness, it's now a primary tool for us. The feedback loop in Kritik is just exceptional. Students don't just receive feedback, they understand it.”

1. Reduces Grading and Administrative Burden

Peer assessment shoulders the bulk of evaluative tasks, allowing instructors to conserve time and resources previously spent on grading and administrative responsibilities. With a class size of 300 students, Prof. Beaudette used to receive a flood of emails from students seeking assessment reviews, cluttering his inbox. However, with the efficient and streamlined grading process of Kritik, these issues are now resolved.

2. Creates Meaningful Student Engagement

By actively participating in the evaluation and feedback process of their peers, students immerse themselves deeper into the course material, fostering meaningful engagement with both the content and their classmates. This process instills a sense of responsibility toward their  educational journey.

3. Shifts the Focus to Mentoring and Coaching

In lieu of concentrating efforts on grading and administrative responsibilities, instructors can devote their attention to mentoring and nurturing students’ academic and professional progression. This strategic reallocation of focus ensures that instructors are better positioned to impact students' academic and career growth.

Improve Student Engagement with Kritik

With Kritik, Prof. Beaudette enhanced student engagement and optimized students’ learning in line with his course objectives. With peer assessment, his students significantly improved their writing skills, nurtured a collaborative learning environment and reduced the administrative burdens typically associated with peer review.

If you are new to peer assessment, check out our guide to introducing peer assessment to students the right way.

Shawn Beaudette
Shawn Beaudette
Brock University
Assistant Professor, Kinesiology

Get Started Today

Learn more about how Kritik can help you
Request a Demo