Peer feedback can be used for formative and summative assessment (peer assessment). The process of giving feedback to peers also helps students to critically reflect on their own work, and expand their understandings of others’ perspectives, practice and models of learning. For peer feedback to be successful, teachers need to prepare a risk-friendly, respectful and supportive environment, and actively model the process of giving and receiving feedback.

Motivation

Constructive feedback is critical for accelerating students’ development of knowledge and skills. Providing feedback to peers, and considering the criteria for assessment of peers’ and the student’s own work promotes reflection and deep learning.

Implementation

In a post-graduate course, students drafted a 300 word teaching philosophy and posted it into a Canvas discussion forum. The second part of their assessment was to use the discussion forum to comment on their peers’ philosophies. A Canvas discussion forum was set up with the prerequisite that students post their own teaching philosophies before being able to view their peers’. Students were also automatically allocated two peer submissions for review. Students found this assessment very easy to follow and complete. The intention was to encourage students to actively reflect on the ideas, values, beliefs, and assumptions that guide their teaching. In considering their own teaching experiences, students could recognise the degree to which their methods conformed to or challenged disciplinary norms. Marks were allocated to this activity to incentivise student participation. 

Where to next?

The main strength of peer feedback is the opportunities it provides for reflection and analysis. This process can be optimised by involving students in creating and refining the assessment criteria.

Some students were apprehensive about providing feedback as their input was visible to the wider class community, so activities such as this require careful planning and management, with guidelines and opportunities to complete the feedback cycle. A variety of tools are available to manage this process. Aropā, Turnitin and Canvas all have peer assessment options which would allow for students to share their work only with the peers who have been assigned to critique it, and for the peer assessor’s feedback to visible only to the recipient and facilitator.

Resources

Nancy Falchikov, Peer Feedback Marking: Developing Peer Assessment. Innovations in Education & Training International 32(2), (175-187). https://doi.org/10.1080/1355800950320212

Papadopoulos, P. M., Lagkas, T. D., & Demetriadis, S. N. (2017). Technology-Enhanced peer Review: Benefits and Implications of Providing Multiple Reviews. Educational Technology & Society, 20(3), 69–81.

Strijbos, J.-W., & Wichmann, A. (2018). Promoting learning by leveraging the collaborative nature of formative peer assessment with instructional scaffolds. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 33(1), 1–9. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10212-017-0353-x

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