Pat Cartney, Middlesex University, October 2010
Purpose of today’s session
To explore a case study of peer assessment as one
part of formative assessment on UG Year 1 so...
Setting the context
Assessment for learning debate highlights key role
assessment plays in student learning
Increasing a...
Case study
Our aim was to encourage a more active , open
dialogue between students and tutors about
assessment.
To use p...
What we did...
Part of summative assessment 2 -3,000 word essay
45 students in total: split into Home Groups with 5
stud...
The big idea
The aim here is that you give each other feedback to
enable you to submit an improved essay for your final
w...
How process was managed...
Initial workshop outlining purpose and process in Nov
Return session in January – asked stude...
Issues from Focus Group
Level of anxiety about commenting on other students’
work – higher than others seeing their work
...
Level of anxiety about other students seeing their
work
“ I can just about take criticism from teachers ...but to
get it ...
Many groups were reluctant to feedback on line and
gave a hardcopy to each other: on –line discussion
didn’t happen then ...
Whilst everyone saw the rationale for using the
marking sheet several commented on the need to
spend more time in advance...
Overall experience...
Very positive experience reported overall
“It was probably – I hate to say this – but probably the
...
Learning pluses in a nutshell
Feedback from others on own work
“ I received very specific feedback and it really helped m...
Finding new ways of writing from seeing work of
other students
“ You don’t take whole chunks. You take ideas, and the
way...
Giving insight into what the standard on the
programme is
“ It showed you how high you need to go and how low
you were”
“...
Giving students a clearer understanding of the
marking criteria
“ Having to use it makes you think my God the tutors
have...
Helping with future academic work in other modules
– feedback to feed-forward
“I have already started doing it – using th...
Changes we made
More openly acknowledged the potential initial
anxieties and stressed potential gains
Devoted more time ...
Future plans
Held focus groups with Year 3 BAs to explore how
they experienced the links between peer assessment
exercise...
References
Cartney, P. (2010) Exploring the use of peer
assessment as a vehicle for closing the gap between
feedback give...
Orsmond, P., Merry, S. & Callaghan, A.C. (2004)
Implementation of a formative assessment model
incorporating peer and sel...
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RIDE 2010 presentation - Using peer assessment to close the feedback gap

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Research in Distance Education: impact on practice conference, 27 October 2010. Presentation in Assessment Strand by Patricia Cartney, Middlesex University.
More details at www.cde.london.ac.uk.

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RIDE 2010 presentation - Using peer assessment to close the feedback gap

  1. 1. Pat Cartney, Middlesex University, October 2010
  2. 2. Purpose of today’s session To explore a case study of peer assessment as one part of formative assessment on UG Year 1 social work module Aim is to highlight process used, the outcome and the student feedback on what worked well and what the issues were To consider whether peer assessment can close the gap between feedback given and feedback used by students
  3. 3. Setting the context Assessment for learning debate highlights key role assessment plays in student learning Increasing attention paid to value of feedback and formative assessment (Orsmond et al ,2004) Recent literature calls for more advanced understanding – need for active participation of students and student tutor dialogue (Rust, 2007) Gap between feedback given and feedback used – feedback alone not enough (Crisp, 2007)
  4. 4. Case study Our aim was to encourage a more active , open dialogue between students and tutors about assessment. To use peer assessment as key component of creating this dialogue between students and between students and tutors. To use formative assessment and peer feedback to encourage students to use the feedback they are given to improve future work.
  5. 5. What we did... Part of summative assessment 2 -3,000 word essay 45 students in total: split into Home Groups with 5 students in each Each Home Group were asked to formatively assess each other’s essay and to give written feedback on marking sheet Tutors to give feedback on the group feedback Held workshop to outline feedback process
  6. 6. The big idea The aim here is that you give each other feedback to enable you to submit an improved essay for your final work which will be marked. Feedback from your peers can be one of the best feedback channels. Reading other’s work can be helpful. Getting used to the marking criteria can help your own focus.
  7. 7. How process was managed... Initial workshop outlining purpose and process in Nov Return session in January – asked students to submit feedback electronically after session to Home Group and to discuss on line Brief feedback in Home Groups on process Tutors were given hard copies of each essay to read for seminar students plus hard copies of feedback sheets given by students to each other Students asked to comment on how they used formative feedback in their summative assessment – two fails and both disregarded comments
  8. 8. Issues from Focus Group Level of anxiety about commenting on other students’ work – higher than others seeing their work “..I thought ‘oh my God’ I really don’t want to do this” “ I was very worried about what would happen if someone gave me an essay to read and it’s, in my opinion, clearly rubbish” “You think all the worst things at the start...all the horrible things that could happen.”
  9. 9. Level of anxiety about other students seeing their work “ I can just about take criticism from teachers ...but to get it from peers as well. It was almost like that will stay with you for the rest of the time that I am with them. How are they going to judge me?” “ It was a terrifying experience for me to actually give my work for someone to look at – not just one person but four...”
  10. 10. Many groups were reluctant to feedback on line and gave a hardcopy to each other: on –line discussion didn’t happen then in several groups Feedback was variable across students – ranging from detailed constructive feedback to very brief comment. Some students felt let down by lack of feedback, “I know I gave a lot of feedback but I didn’t receive it” Others had a positive experience, “The feedback was incredible...then I could change and make things better”
  11. 11. Whilst everyone saw the rationale for using the marking sheet several commented on the need to spend more time in advance ‘decoding’ the language “It’s in tutor speak and not student speak” “Simplify it to make it a bit more friendly for people”
  12. 12. Overall experience... Very positive experience reported overall “It was probably – I hate to say this – but probably the most enjoyable and helpful thing this year.” “I think it was one of the most fantastic things ever ..but my initial feeling was ‘no way’”
  13. 13. Learning pluses in a nutshell Feedback from others on own work “ I received very specific feedback and it really helped me. Some people gave really constructive (comments) like ‘this is how your introduction should be.” “When I write I get too close to my essays so I am not reading them anymore..I can’t see the mistakes – so someone else reading them for me is invaluable.”
  14. 14. Finding new ways of writing from seeing work of other students “ You don’t take whole chunks. You take ideas, and the way that people have written them in a clearer format than yours and then you think yes, if I had done it like that it would have been better and then you can change it, and it helps everyone.”
  15. 15. Giving insight into what the standard on the programme is “ It showed you how high you need to go and how low you were” “ I could see where I had come from and I could see where I want to go”
  16. 16. Giving students a clearer understanding of the marking criteria “ Having to use it makes you think my God the tutors have to do all this, so you need to be able to make it easy. And the easier it is the more likely you are to have a higher mark. It is almost stepping out and having a little insight into a different world. A sneaky preview into how you are going to get better marks.”
  17. 17. Helping with future academic work in other modules – feedback to feed-forward “I have already started doing it – using the feedback in my other essays and transferring it.” “You can transfer your feedback to the next piece of work...It is like going up a ladder.”
  18. 18. Changes we made More openly acknowledged the potential initial anxieties and stressed potential gains Devoted more time to making the marking sheet more intelligible Acknowledged reluctance to e discussions and allocated class time for written feedback to be presented and discussed Stressed need for full involvement in process and links to professional practice and employment
  19. 19. Future plans Held focus groups with Year 3 BAs to explore how they experienced the links between peer assessment exercises throughout their programme. Data needs further analysis but one key finding is that the students supplemented the formal peer assessment exercises with their own informal peer feedback groups throughout the programme. Used in practice too. Suggests peer assessment promoted a learning community and a way of addressing the feedback gap.
  20. 20. References Cartney, P. (2010) Exploring the use of peer assessment as a vehicle for closing the gap between feedback given and feedback received, Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education,35, (5), 551 -564 Crisp, B. R. (2007) Is it worth the effort? How feedback influences students’ submission of assessable work, Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 32, (5), 571 - 581
  21. 21. Orsmond, P., Merry, S. & Callaghan, A.C. (2004) Implementation of a formative assessment model incorporating peer and self assessment, Innovations in Higher Education and Training International, 41 (3), 273 – 290 Rust, C. (2007) Towards a scholarship of assessment, Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 30 (3), 231 - 240

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