Someone who attended my conference presentation last month about Peer Assessment (see the blog entry here for slides), sent me some follow-up questions that I thought might be useful to capture here. Thanks for your questions! My responses are signaled by >>.
* How do you train students in the use of a rubric and in effective peer review, particularly in such a large class?
>> we developed the Peer Assessment Training workshop, which can be adapted for anyone to use https://peerassessment.arts.ubc.ca/ . If you have access to Canvas there’s a template and a demo in the Commons. If you don’t, stay tuned to our peerassessment website… we’re working on a fully open WordPress version for launch soon.
* How do your students respond to being graded by novice peers like themselves, rather than a more expert instructor or TA? Does it take some convincing, or do you just present the evidence of the effectiveness of peer assessment and move on?
>> there is a range of opinions… but there’s a range of opinions about every pedagogical decision! I show them the evidence, make sure the assessment isn’t valued too highly, and give people a form to submit to have their grade re-evaluated by me if they want. That takes care of most concerns.
* You mentioned Peter Graf also assesses the quality of the peer assessments as well; do you know how he handles this? (For instance, does the student being evaluated also reciprocally evaluate their peer reviewer? Or is it something the TA does?)
>> He and his TAs grade the comments. It moves pretty quickly when they’re exported in a spreadsheet.
* In your slides, you mention two additional challenges: Students don’t trust each other, and comments were poor quality. How did you address those challenges? Any recommendations/ideas for how you would do it in the future?
>> The strategies above generally address these concerns.
>> If you’d like to try it out but are nervous about scale, you could always treat it as an opt-in pilot, so a sub-group of students try it out and give feedback. In a class of 440 I’m sure you can find at least a dozen students willing to participate… that’s one nice thing about very large classes!