OER4Schools/Peer and self-assessment/background reading

From OER in Education

Background Reading on Peer and Self-Assessment

Peer and self-assessment is another AfL strategy that ‘promotes independent learning, communication and support in the classroom.’ (Afl Guidance, p 26).

Evidence shows that students can learn to be skilled assessors whose feedback and grades are valid and reliable. Peer assessment and self-assessment are much more than learners simply marking their own or each other’s work. To improve learning, self-assessment must engage learners with the quality of their work and help them reflect on how to improve it. Peers can provide valuable feedback so that learners can learn from and support each other. (Assessment Reform Group, 2002)

Peer and self-assessment are useful for classes in which the student-teacher ratio is high. The practical constraints of the teacher’s time within these classes imply that it is difficult for the teachers to give quality feedback to each pupil. In such cases peer and self-assessment help to give every student indications about how their learning can progress.

Peer and self-assessment are also useful because they:

  • help students develop valuable skills of making and defending judgments
  • considerably increase the amount of feedback which students receive on their work, thus increasing motivation
  • create a classroom environment in which students take responsibility for their own learning
  • engage students in constructive work independently, thereby allowing teachers to help students who need more support
  • can be less intimidating than a teacher’s critical comments (when not given using sensitive language)

Two popular means of peer and self-assessment are:

  • encouraging students to give formative feedback based on success criteria. These are mainly qualitative in nature and involve looking for evidence for each success criteria in student’s work
  • deciding a marking scheme on the basis of which students can give marks to each other. For example, every step of a mathematics problem can carry specific marks, which students can use to assess each other summatively

In this session we focus on the first method of qualitative assessment and feedback.

Assessment Reform Group, (2002), Assessment for learning: 10 principles (London, Assessment Reform Group).