July 1, 2009
eCoaching Tip 69
Using Peer Feedback to Increase Confidence and Community
The end of the summer term is rapidly approaching. This tip describes a way for you to gently revise your evaluation processes to include an element of peer feedback. This process can help in the goal of reinforcing the core concepts of your course while also reducing stress and increasing community for everyone. By using even a modest amount of peer review, you can increase learning and reduce evaluation grading time for yourself.
Using Rubrics for Peer Feedback and Reinforcing Core Concepts
This tip answers these three questions:
This tip assumes that you are familiar with rubrics as a tool to (1) guide student learning as they work on course assignments and to (2) evaluate those learning products.
What is a Rubric?
Very briefly, as a reminder, a rubric is a scoring system. A rubric is usually expressed as a matrix with the 2-3 desired characteristics in the left most column and a three-point scale for each of those desired characteristics in the next set of three columns. See the rubric below for an example of such a matrix. More resources are in the reference section. You may find the resources in the Guide to Rating Critical & Integrative Thinking at the Washington State University website useful for customizing your own course rubrics when you are ready.
A Simple Rubric for Peer Assessment
Here is a simple rubric for evaluating a short reflection paper, podcast, or other assignment. Including the rubric in the assignment directions is a good way to communicate your expectations. You might also provide examples of some model responses.
This simple rubric focuses on three characteristics of written or oral expression. One of these characteristics is Professional Expression. This characteristic subsumes all the elements of effective and professional communication. This level of professional expression is expected of any and all learning products.
The other two characteristics selected for this rubric, clarity/synthesis and breadth of perspective, are from the set of eight intellectual standards discussed in an earlier tip this summer (Tip 67 - Developing Rigor in Our Questioning: Eight Intellectual Standards). A rubric based on all eight standards would overwhelm users. This rubric helps to focus on just two intellectual standards, synthesizing of ideas for clear communication and looking at an issue from other people’s perspective and cultural experience. Over time in a course, all eight intellectual standards can be reinforced.
Introducing Peer Review
The last phase of a course is not the time generally to introduce a new process; however, students also like variety and if you keep a new process simple, it can work.
Let’s assume that it is week 6 of an 8-week term and your students have a short reflection assignment. The assignment may be to reflect on the core concepts of a seminal journal article. The direction for the assignment might be to compare and contrast ways of building a talent pool for your organization. Part of your assignment included the rubric for this reflection paper as provided above.
Your initial evaluation plan was to have the students turn in their papers and you would grade them. If you decide to include peer review, you might use a variant of the following process:
You may have a question about the structure and rubric for a peer review. For this first exercise you may choose to simply leave it open-ended with a focus on comments and feedback, and give credit as a satisfactory if the review is completed. For future peer evaluation or for significant projects, you might choose to use a separate rubric for the peer evaluation.
Research on Peer Review: A Few One-Liner Recommendations
What does the research say about peer review? What are the potential dangers? What are some of the pearls of wisdom? Here are a few one-liner recommendations.
These one-liners are just the tip of the research iceberg on this topic. Write or call with your questions and suggestions for future tips on peer assessment and interaction.
Quick Review of Rubrics
If you would like a quick review on rubrics in general, here are two resources:
References and Resources
Andrade, H. G. Understanding rubrics. Retrieved June 24, 2009 from http://learnweb.harvard.edu/ALPS/thinking/docs/rubricar.htm.
Andrade, Heidi & Ying Du (2005). Student perspectives on rubric-referenced assessment. Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation, 10(3). Retrieved June 24, 2009 from http://PAREonline.net/getvn.asp?v=10&n=3.
Chen, Y. C. & Tsai, C. C. (2009). An educational research course facilitated by online peer assessment. Innovations in Education and Teaching International. 46(1), 105–117.
E-Coaching Tip 27 (Fall, 2006): A Rubric for Analyzing Critical Thinking. Retrieved June 26, 2009 from http://www.designingforlearning.info/services/writing/ecoach/tips/tip27.html
E-Coaching Tip 04 (Spring, 2006): Managing and Evaluating Discussion Postings. Retrieved June 26, 2009 from http://www.designingforlearning.info/services/writing/ecoach/tips/tip4.html
Guide to Rating Critical & Integrative Thinking. Washington State University, Fall 2006. Retrieved June 26, 2009 from http://wsuctprojectdev.wsu.edu/ctr_docs/CIT%20Rubric%202006.pdf
Comeaux, P. Assessing Students’ Online Learning: Strategies and resources. Essays on Teaching Excellence: Toward the Best in the academy. 17 (3), 2005-5006. Retrieved June 26, 2009 from http://thunder1.cudenver.edu/CFD/virtual_cfd/online_learning/assessing_online_learning.htm.
Paré, D. E. & Joordens, S. (2008). Peering into large lectures: examining peer and expert mark agreement using peerScholar, an online peer assessment tool. Retrieved June 28, 2009 from http://www.utsc.utoronto.ca/~psya01/peerScholar/peerScholar%20paper%20-%20Pare%20and%20Joordens%20(2008).pdf
Moskal, Barbara M. (2000). Scoring rubrics: what, when and how?. Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation, 7(3). Retrieved June 24, 2009 from http://PAREonline.net/getvn.asp?v=7&n=3
Moallem, M. (2005). Designing and managing student assessment in an online learning environment. In P. Comeaux (Ed.), Assessing online learning, pp. 18 to 33. Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing.
Merrill, M. D., & Gilbert, C. G. (2008). Effective peer interaction in a problem-centered instructional strategy. Distance Education, 29(2), 199 - 207.
Topping, K. (1998), Peer assessment between students in colleges and universities. Review of Educational Research, 68, 249–276.
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