Teaching & Learning


Initiatives and resources supporting the objectives of UCL's Education Strategy 2016-21


Peer assessment

Students mark and give feedback on their peers work, which helps them understand how they will be assessed. Here's how to incorporate this in your teaching. 

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1 August 2019

Students grade and/or give feedback comments on each other’s work.

You can use either:

  • formative work that does not receive a mark towards the final grade, or
  • summative work which counts towards final grades and degree classifications.

Examples could include group work participation, oral presentations, essays and lab reports.

Educational benefits for your students

Involving students in assessment is a valuable way to help them understand assessment criteria and academic requirements.

Peer assessment can be especially valuable for international students who may have little understanding of UK assessments practice and can also help students from diverse backgrounds transitioning to university.

How to build peer assessment into your teaching


Good preparation is essential. Most problems with peer assessment arise because learners have not been adequately prepared.

Introduce peer assessment and explain how it will help students. Without this justification, students might think they are just doing your marking.

Good planning should also include ‘low risk’ or practice activities such as guided marking – where students mark and discuss previously-submitted assignments with peers and the teacher. See the Guided marking toolkit.

Give guidance on how to write constructive feedback.

Feedback form

Use a feedback form to guide student feedback comments.  

See Using proformas toolkit for an example of a feedback form.


Where possible, ensure assignments are submitted and graded anonymously.

Moodle Workshop can be used to manage online peer assessment.

Digital Education can advise (digi-ed@ucl.ac.uk).

Rehearsal marking

For summative peer assessment, arrange both a briefing session and a rehearsal marking session.

After submission of the assignment, distribute three sample assignments to the whole cohort. Discuss these samples either online or in a lecture/seminar and clarify any difficult content.

Moderation and complaints

All assessments at UCL must be robust and fair.

Ensure that all peer assessor marks are moderated and that students are reassured of this.

Set up and inform students of the complaints procedure.

Following these steps will ensure trustworthiness of the feedback and it will build students’ confidence in the fairness of the marks.


This guide has been produced by the UCL Arena Centre for Research-based Education. You are welcome to use this guide if you are from another educational facility, but you must credit the UCL Arena Centre.