Peer marking

What is it?

Students make judgements about each other’s work or another group’s work, engaging deeply with assessment criteria. After a phase of negotiating a shared understanding of the criteria, students are allocated work to mark, generating feedback and grades. Peer marking (sometimes called peer assessment) is distinct from peer evaluation, where only feedback and comments are given. Therefore, it requires different considerations. It can form part of a students’ summative assessment for a piece of work.

The process can be digital or in class. On KEATS, the Workshop activity lets the assessor structure the peer marking with question prompts or rubrics, and automate the deadlines and allocation processes. It also allows the assessor to mark the feedback given.

Why would I use it?

As well as many of the benefits of peer evaluation, 

  • It helps students engage deeply with assessment criteria in order to judge the standards of others.
  • It counters students’ ‘learned dependence’ on teacher judgment of their work and involves the students in the assessment process.
  • It can improve their appreciation of teacher’s thought processes in arriving at academic judgements, and improve staff-student relations.
  • According to Falchikov and Goldfinch (2000) and Kearney et al (2016) with thorough preparation and practice, the validity of student assessments is similar to that of staff in a wide range of subject areas.

Known issues

  • Unlike with formative peer evaluation, peer marking does not save time because teachers are still required to look at the grades and judgments of peer work in order to assess the quality of feedback and accuracy of grade given. This can actually increase teacher workload.
  • Setting up peer marking requires prior planning and some setting up of the digital technology.  CTEL can help with  how to set up Moodle workshop on KEATS.
  • Students can become quite anxious about grading each other’s work and practice in how to do this needs to be done beforehand.

How has it been used?

This video presents a case study in Immunology from the University of Leicester on poster presentations:

 

Oxford Brookes provide an example of how to use peer marking in three main steps.

 

Articles which discuss the use of peer marking:

  • McConlogue (2012)But is it fair? Developing students’ understanding of grading complex written work through peer assessment.
  • Tai, et al (2017): Developing evaluative judgement: enabling students to make decisions about the quality of work.

How can I use peer marking?