• Author(s): Dr Rosalind Duhs
  • Title: Assessment and feedback to students
  • Subject: HE - Education
  • Keywords: UKOER, UKPSF, OMAC, CPD4HE, assessment, feedback
  • Language(s): English
  • Material type(s): Text, Presentation
  • File format(s): ZIP, HTML, PDF, RTF, ODT, PPT, DOC
  • File size: Various
  • Publish Date: 6th July 2011, 12th August 2011
  • Licence: CC-BY-NC-SA


Self- and Peer Assessment

Formative and Summative use

Self- and peer assessment can be used in formative assessment (feedback to students). They are useful as a component of a dialogic feedback system which offers students multiple opportunities to revise their work, learning from and reflecting on it and improving quality.

Self- and peer assessment can also contribute to final marks (summative assessment). In most assessment regimes, they do not account for a large proportion of marks because of the high stakes attached to summative assessment. Academic staff need to be responsible for the allocation of marks which contribute to final degree results.

Student engagement with feedback and focus on tasks

Students are too often the passive recipients of results. They focus on marks when it is too late to develop the work concerned and may not feel motivated to engage with feedback.

These approaches are advantageous because they lead to active involvement with feedback and a strong focus on the piece/s of work concerned. Students engage repeatedly with the prerequisite knowledge and develop their thinking and any other skills involved. Students also gain a great deal from collaborating with their peers.

Exemplars and assessment criteria

Examples of good work and the assessment criteria which are applied to evaluate that work are needed if self- and peer assessment are to be effective. Self- and peer assessment both have to be based on an understanding of what constitutes a good piece of work. Students will then be able to judge how their own work and the work of their peers compares with what is required and to close the gap between their current performance and a good/excellent standard.

It is good practice for students to try assessing typical work before they start assessing in earnest. This is an excellent learning activity. Students can see how complex learning can be made visible through the relevant assessment tasks - writing, lab work, presentations, projects, etc.

Planning self- and peer assessment

If you would like to use self- and peer assessment to enhance student learning, consider the following.

  • Devise assessment tasks which give students the opportunity to show that they have achieved intended learning outcomes;
  • Build in choice and drafting and redrafting following self- and peer assessment;
  • Self- and peer assessment can be applied to oral or filmed work, uploaded to a virtual learning environment such as Moodle, or done orally during face to face teaching sessions. Wikis provide a perfect forum for providing peer feedback, redrafting and creating web pages together.

Practical steps

  1. Write one or two learning outcomes for each assessed task so students know what learning they are demonstrating;
  2. Write assessment criteria for the task (or write them with your students) so students know what aspects of the work are being evaluated;
  3. Give students the chance to practise applying the criteria to short texts or video clips of presentations;
  4. Help them to provide constructive feedback.


Creative Commons Licence
Assessment and feedback to students by Dr Rosalind Duhs is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.
Based on a work at www.ucl.ac.uk.

Contact us: cpd4he@ucl.ac.uk

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