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Peer-to-peer Learning Lab

Peer Assessment: Students Helping Peers to Learn

Peer assessment (often also called peer review) is the quantitative evaluation and qualitative feedback of a learner’s performance by another learner of the same status (i.e., no obvious authority figure).

Students can benefit from peer assessment in multiple ways:

– several peers can provide more total feedback than an over-taxed instructor, this feedback could be more persuasive when multiple reviewers note the same problems

– peer feedback likely represents more diverse audience perspectives

– peers may be better able to articulate feedback in terms that are understandable

– the task of providing feedback to others is an additional learning opportunity where students can learn from seeing models of effective and ineffective writing and practice revision strategies.

A substantial amount of research has demonstrated that peers are capable of providing valid ratings, and their feedback is usually just as effective as an instructor’s feedback in helping students improve their drafts and sometimes more effective. However, as with most pedagogy, the effects are not always consistent, which warrants a deeper investigation into how peer assessment helps students learn. To address these issues, I examine three aspects of peer assessment:

1. How does the feedback students provide differ from that of instructors?

2. How does peer assessment improve learning?

3. Under what circumstances is peer assessment most effective?