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Peer Assessment

How to help students give good quality feedback
Mylène DiPenta Faculty, Electronic Engineering Technician, Kingstec Campus

Introductions and Definitions
Evaluation: giving students a grade.
Examples:    Homework Chapter test Exam Examples of peer assessment in my program:

Assessment: helping students improve.
Examples:    Informal conversation with teacher In-class exercises Homework My questions about peer assessment:

Peer Assessment: students helping each other improve.
Examples:   Two students compare their shop work before turning it in A student helps a classmate troubleshoot a lab that’s not working

Peer Evaluation: students grading each other.
Examples:  Students assign a grade to each other’s participation in a group project

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Peer Assessment: How and Why?
Why use peer assessment?
     Students benefit from getting more feedback It’s easier to see other people’s mistakes than your own It’s easier to see other people’s strengths than your own Students practice using good judgement and respectful criticism Teachers spend less time giving simple feedback, so they can focus on more complex feedback that students can’t provide

Rate the quality of this feedback
1. This joint is shiny and clean, but it is lumpy. 2. This joint will be better if you redo it at a higher temperature. 3. This is a good-quality joint. 4. This joint is nice and shiny, well-cleaned. I can see my face in it! 5. This joint is a bit lumpy, but it’s really clean and shiny. I can tell that you worked hard at cleaning it. 6. This joint is shiny and clean, but it is lumpy. I can tell it’s clean because I can’t see any flux, and I can’t feel any sticky chemical residue. 7. This joint is shiny and clean, but it is lumpy – you might have used a temperature that was too low. Try using a higher temperature and it should come out smoother. 8. This joint is shiny and clean, but it is lumpy. Try using a higher temperature next time. Other than that, you have a natural talent for this!

Score (out of 3)

Good-quality feedback should:
□ □ □ Identify strengths and weaknesses using clear criteria Give specific suggestions for how to improve Focus on persistence, quality, and hard work, not talent or intelligence

Example #1: Assessing a Performance Task
Criteria for good quality soldering:    Smooth Shiny Clean

Write an example of high-quality feedback:

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Example #2: Assessing Writing
Some criteria for good-quality writing: □ □ □ □ □ The writing is clear enough that a student can summarize it The source is recent, relevant, and has been reviewed by experts The writing shows a relationship between cause and effect The writing relates to what we’ve learned in class The writing answers a question

Example #3: My plan for peer assessment
Skill or task that students will assess:


Examples of good-quality feedback: Your classmate, Robin Moroney, has written a summary of an article in the New York Times. Use the rubric on the next page to give Robin some feedback. ( Examples of poor-quality feedback:

Notes about how to incorporate this in my teaching:

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Question: ____What Type of Praise Should A Child Never Hear?________
Presented by: Robin Moroney Assessed by: Date: Proposed answer:

Summarize in your own words so your classmate knows you understand their point

How does my real-world experience contradict or support this?

Title and author of original source Original Source is

How Not to Talk to Your Kids: The Inverse Power of Praise (Po Bronson, New York Times Magazine) Reviewed? __ Recent? ________ Relevant? __
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Ask at least one question about clarity  What exactly is… ?  What do you mean by…?  Is it always…?

Questions that need to be answered to accept this:

Cause: What does the source tell you about cause and effect? What questions do you have about what causes what?

Questions for the future:

Connections: How does it support what we’ve learned in class? How does it conflict with what we’ve learned in class? What ideas are new, or not connected to other ideas at all?
□ Needs revision □ Accepted

My conclusion:

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More Information about Peer Assessment and Feedback
Files from Today’s Workshop All the files from today’s workshop, including this handout, are available online at this link. is Mylène’s blog about the trials and tribulations of community college teaching. Feel free to leave a comment or get in touch.

Example Criteria for Good Quality Feedback I get most of my ideas about criteria for good-quality feedback from the Foundation for Critical Thinking. Here they explain 8 possible criteria that can be adapted for many situations. The rest of the site is also full of useful ideas.

Helping Students Give Feedback When They Don’t Know the Right Answer Students can still write feedback to each other, even if they don’t know the right answer. Jason Buell uses “sentence frames” to help students assess each other’s clarity and completeness when the right answer is unknown, and discusses the link between peer-assessment and self-assessment.

Managing Feedback Includes a discussion of when it’s helpful to give feedback right away, and when it’s helpful to delay feedback until students are going to use it. Also talks about asking students what kind of feedback they are looking for.

Post Game Analysis 2.0 – Instant Replay John Burk explains how to help students write feedback to themselves. Many of the ideas also apply to students writing feedback to each other. In the Comments section, there’s a good discussion of how to improve the quality of feedback.

My Revised Quiz Reflection Assignment Great examples of how students can improve their feedback. Focussed on self-assessment but applicable to peer assessment.

Categorizing My Feedback A collection of sentence-starters and examples of “growth-mindset focused” feedback to students.

How Not to Talk to Your Kids: The inverse power of praise Praising people for talent makes them perform poorly and avoid risks, while praising them for their work improves their ability to learn (Po Bronson, New York Times, discussing Carol Dweck’s research) p. 6

[1] R. Moroney, "The Wall Street Journal," 13 February 2007. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 7 July 2013].

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