SIP 13.9 Student-to-Student Peer Assessment/Evaluation

Thirsty for a Strong Instructional Practice?

Two students wearing face masks and sitting on a bench.Do you ever feel like you spend all your time grading or have grading piling up no matter how hard you try? What if assessing what students know and do not know in a class is not just up to the instructor? What if students could be involved in this process as well?

Student-to-student peer evaluation is a powerful teaching and learning tool in the classroom. It helps the instructor by cutting down on seeing every piece of paper, and it helps students internalize the characteristics of quality work by evaluating the work of their peers.

  • Peer assessments can be used in any discipline.
  • Multiple forms of assessment help students and instructors gain a more complete picture of academic understanding.
  • Peer assessments can be used in classes of all sizes.
  • Peer assessments involve more than just assigning grades, and you might not even assign grades for them.
  • Peer assessments promote learning.

Take a SIP of this: Student-to-Student Peer Assessment/Evaluation

Peer assessment is students evaluating their peers, usually using some sort of an evaluation form. Students can provide a valuable role in evaluating their classmates and in evaluating group projects since they interact with each other, becoming firsthand “experts” on what occurs in class and during group work.

Peer evaluation can increase student involvement and personal responsibility, provide relevant feedback to students by students, encourage student ownership of assignments and improve student judgment of quality work. Students are better able to evaluate their own work and to discover what they don’t know when they can observe and reflect on the range of approaches they discover during peer review.

Students sometimes struggle with peer evaluation because of a perception of the evaluation being a popularity contest in which friends rate one another highly or because they do not have a clear understanding of what to look for in their peers’ work.

Instructors can encourage peer evaluation through:

  1. Creating a positive learning environment. Students will not feel like they can give constructive feedback if the classroom culture is not conducive to this sort of learning process.
  2. Emphasizing the rationale behind using peer evaluation.
  3. Providing clear instructions about what quality work looks like. This can be accomplished through providing prompts, rubrics or checklists of what to look for in peers’ work.
  4. Providing exemplars of high-quality, satisfactory or unsatisfactory work. Instructors can build into class time what sort of work they are looking for from students. By modeling this evaluation process, students are more likely to adhere to it as well.

Still thirsty? Take another SIP of peer evaluation

Here are some other resources to help you with learning more about or practicing peer evaluation:

Peer-editing checklist 

The Schreyer Institute provides several formats for peer evaluation 

The University of New South Wales provides more in-depth discussion about assessment during group work

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