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1. What is peer-assessment?
2. Why employ peer-assessment?
3. How can you incorporate peer-assessment?
4. What else should you consider when incorporating peer-assessment?

1. What is peer-assessment?

Peer assessment allows instructors to share the evaluation of assignments with their students. It is grounded in theories of active learning (Piaget, ’71), adult learning (Cross, ’81) and social constructionism (Vygotsky, ’62).

2. Why employ peer-assessment?

Peer assessment can:

  • Empower students to take responsibility for, and manage, their own learning.
  • Enable students to learn to assess and to develop life-long assessment skills.
  • Enhance students' learning through knowledge diffusion and exchange of ideas.
  • Motivate students to engage with course material more deeply.

3. How can you incorporate peer-assessment?

  • Identify assignments or activities for which students might benefit from peer feedback.
  • Consider breaking a larger assignment into smaller pieces and incorporating peer assessment opportunities at each stage. For example, assignment outline, first draft, second draft, etc.
  • Design guidelines or rubrics with clearly defined tasks for the reviewer.
  • Introduce rubrics through learning exercises to ensure students have the ability to apply the rubric effectively.
  • Determine whether peer review activities will be conducted as in-class or out-of-class assignments; for out-of-class assignments, peer assessments can be facilitated online by Blackboard.
  • Help students learn to carry out peer assessment by modeling appropriate, constructive criticism and descriptive feedback through your own comments on student work and well-constructed rubrics.
  • Incorporate small feedback groups where written comments on assignments can be explained and discussed with the receiver.

4. What else should you consider when incorporating peer-assessment?

  • Let students know the rationale for doing peer review; explain the expectations and benefits of engaging in a peer review process.
  • Consider having students evaluate anonymous assignments for more objective feedback.
  • Be prepared to give feedback on students’ feedback to each other. Display some examples of feedback of varying quality and discuss which kind of feedback is useful and why.
  • Give clear directions and time limits for in-class peer review sessions and set defined deadlines for out-of-class peer review assignments.
  • Listen to group feedback discussions and provide guidance and input when necessary.
  • Student familiarity and ownership of criteria tend to enhance peer assessment validity; therefore, involve students in a discussion of the criteria used.
  • Students have more experience with academic tasks; therefore, be cautious about having them peer-assess professional tasks: choose tasks that lie within their relative experiential base.
  • Encourage students to take more individual responsibility by not having multiple peers assess the same task.

Resources for Incorporating Peer-Assessment

CTI Topic Overview: Peer Reviews (CU NetID required to access. Link redirects to login page.) pdf
Peer Assessment and Peer Evaluation, The Foundation Coalition pdf
Peer Assessment, University of Technology Sydney Institute for Interactive Media Learning
Student Peer Assessment, Stephen Bostock, Keele University


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Kollar, I. & Fischer, F. (2010). Peer assessment as collaborative learning: A cognitive perspective. Learning and Instruction, 20, 344-348. doi:10.1016/j.learninstruc.2009.08.005

McKeachie, W.J. & Svinicki, M. (2006). McKeachie’s teaching tips: Strategies, research, and theory for college and university teachers (12th ed.). Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Millis, Barbara J. (2002). Enhancing Learning-and More! Through Collaborative Learning. IDEA Paper 38. The IDEA Center. Retrieved from

Washington University in St. Louis Teaching Center. (2009). How to plan and guide in-class peer-review sessions. Retrieved from

Wasson, B. & Vold, V. (2011). Leveraging new media skills in a peer feedback tool. Internet and Higher Education, 1-10. doi: 10.1016/j.iheduc.2011.10.002

Xie, Y., Fengfeng, K. & Sharma, P. (2008). The effect of peer feedback for blogging on college students’ reflective learning processes. Internet and Higher Education, 11, 18-25. doi:10.1016/j.iheduc.2007.11.001

van Zundert, M., Sluijsmans, D., van Merriënboer, J. (2010). Effective peer assessment processes: Research findings and future directions. Learning and Instruction, 20, 270-279.  doi:10.1016/j.learninstruc.2009.08.004
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