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Introduction to Peer Assessment: Lesson Plan

(Revised version – 17-11-05)

Learning objectives
(What students should know / understand / be able to do / be aware of by the end of the lesson)

Students should have learned:
1. to define peer assessment
2. to explain why peer assessment is useful
3. to describe at least 5 key features of effective peer assessment
Learning outcomes
(The evidence to show that students have achieved the learning objectives)

By the end of the lesson, students will be able to demonstrate their
learning by:
1. having a shared and agreed definition of peer assessment – the
definition may be refined and informed by the discussion and activities of
the lesson
2. having a written explanation as to why peer assessment is useful
3. having a record of at least 5 key features of peer assessment
The big picture
(Why this lesson is important / how it will help students achieve their next steps to learning)

This lesson is important because it establishes the ground rules for
effective peer assessment and starts to train students in how to peer
assess effectively. It will also start to help students develop a language
for peer assessment
Links with LAC / NAC / ICT objectives
LAC: throughout!!!
NAC: ---
ICT: ---
Provision for EAL / SEN / G&T
EAL: Key words – definition of terms
SEN: ---
G&T: lateral thinking
Objectives sheet; Assessment criteria sheet; OHT
Other notes
Lesson Structure


[If necessary: Personal introduction, context for lesson and expectations
re: participation in the lesson.]

NB. It may be useful to encourage the use of “response partners”
throughout the lesson to deal with any ‘awkward silences’ …however, silence
may not always be a bad thing …and response partners should be used
judiciously …the students may just be unaccustomed to this sort of
discussion work and may need time to process the input and the questions.

NB. Refer to the Learning Objectives throughout and, once established,
keep coming back to the definitions of peer / assessment / peer

Once students are settled, engage them straightaway in a written task.
They are to write as much as they can about themselves as possible in 2-3
minutes – Give them the title ‘Myself’ and ask them to write as much on
this topic. Alert students to the fact that there will be an audience for
this piece of writing …ie. it will be shared with another student.

Get students to swap texts and ask them to peer assess the work. They
are to give some written feedback. The work is then handed back to the
writer and, if there is anything for the writer to respond to (which can be
done there and then) …they should respond.


Debrief the activity – how did students find the writing task? how did
students find the peer assessment? what feedback was given? what did
they learn from the task? what does the task tell us about peer
Use this discussion ... and the link to having criteria against which to assess
… as a lead into the learning objectives. By the end of the lesson, students
should have learned:

1. to define peer assessment
2. to explain why peer assessment is useful
3. to describe at least 5 key features of effective peer assessment
(NB. Learning objectives should be displayed throughout the lesson)

Introduce them to the Learning Diary and get them to think about where
they’re at with these three objectives now at the start of the lesson by
rating themselves 1-10 …explain that 1 = don’t know/can’t do …5 = have
some idea, 10 = confident enough to share with the group and be 100%
Get students to think about how we’ll assess whether they’ve made
progress in their learning – how will we know if they have achieved these
three objectives by the end of the lesson?

Let’s start with the first objective: What is peer assessment? Explore the
meanings of both ‘peer’ and ‘assessment and through discussion arrive at a
class definition of ‘peer assessment’ …you might want to get students to
share some initial definitions as a starting point. [Dictionary definition of
peer = a person of the same age, status, or ability as another specified
person; assessment = judgment; evidence; evaluation of what’s been
learned/done; any activity which provides information about what stage
someone/something is at; an assessment is usually made against a set of
criteria]. Get them to write down their own version of the class definition
on the Learning Diary.


Explain that the next section of the lesson is designed to meet learning
objective (3) – to explore the key features of effective peer assessment
and to see how we can use it to improve learning. …our success criteria /
outcome / aim is to have at least 5 key features. Remind students of
Learning Objective #2 and say that we’ll return to this at the end of the
lesson …however, stress from the outset that’s not just teachers =getting
them to do the work!!!

Use ‘Defining the space’ as a lead into ‘Forum theatre’ to explore good peer
assessment …and then change it to bad peer assessment …distil into 5 key
features of good peer assessment (NB. Step-by-step instructions for doing
this follow!!!).

Start by getting students to imagine going into a classroom where
effective peer assessment is happening.

Prompt questions:
What does this look like?
How are the students sitting? (in pairs? in threes? Next to each other?
Opposite each other?)

At this point, start to move the furniture and set this up ‘for real’. Ask for
some volunteers to populate the chairs (stress the fact that won’t need to
do anything at this point).

Draw out key points about body language, positioning, etc.

Develop into ‘opening lines’ …what would the students say to each other?
Ask the two volunteers if they’d be happy to improvise this through (if
they aren’t, ask for volunteers). Establish a context – what’s the lesson,
what’s being assessed? what do the students have in front of them? …
choose one of the starting lines and use this to get going. Allow a couple of
minutes’ dialogue …then stop and pose the question as to whether this is
realistic. Get students to suggest what ‘tweaks’ should be made to make it
realistic …and re-run the scene …repeat this process adding in further
suggestions / ‘tweaks’ to make it an example of ‘good’ practice – prompt
students where essential features are missed (eg. Using assessment
criteria, use of positive language, body language, etc.

Re-run looking at what it would look like if the peer assessment was ‘bad’
(it may be necessary to change the pace of the lesson at this point - you
could use paired discussion/paired role-plays to look at what bad peer
assessment looks like – with students contributing some examples - this
could be used as an alternative to another round of whole-class forum
theatre …on the other hand, a quick interpolation of some brain gym may
be enough of a break before moving on to look at the bad-case scenario
using Forum Theatre …this is usually quite engaging in itself and amusing so
tends to ‘lift’ the session)

Use these improvisations to reflect on the key characteristics of peer
assessment and to list them on an OHT/IWB/Board …encourage students
to copy these down as you discuss them. If there are more than five – get
students to highlight their own top 5! Agree the top 5 characteristics for
the class and get students to annotate/highlight these in some way.


Return to the Learning Objectives

1. to define peer assessment
2. to explain why peer assessment is useful
3. to describe at least 5 key features of effective peer assessment

and check them through – do students have a clearer definition of ‘peer
assessment’? …get them to re-state/re-write/add to their definition.
Discuss why peer assessment is useful and get them to write at least 1
sentence to explain what they think. Move onto the 5 key features which
have been identified. And get them to copy up the agreed characteristics –
tell them that you’ll ask them to say which is the most important
characteristic for them as they leave the room. [NB. During this ‘plenary’,
distribute the assessment criteria sheets.] Return to the writing task at
the start of the lesson – refer to the writing criteria …would they have
written something different if they’d have been given this at the start?
Would they have given different feedback? …-> hwk


Their homework is to redraft their text so that it meets all of the Level 5
criteria for ‘Writing Skills’. This will be used in the next lesson.
Sample Key Characteristics as developed by a Year 9 group:

The Year 9 class identified the following ‘key characteristics’ of effective peer

You need:
A mark scheme to measure against
To have a conversation and not argue
To give reasons for your comments
To tell your ‘peer’ what’s right/good
To suggest how to improve
A good attitude / be willing to listen
To take advice and want to improve
To stay interested and to stay awake (!)
To be willing to give ‘stuff’
Level 4 Level 5
1. Vocabulary. Vocabulary choices are often Vocabulary choices are imaginative and words
adventurous and words are used for are used precisely.
effect. They add interest to narrative by
the addition of detail that portrays the
feelings or intentions of the main
character. They add detail to their
writing through the use of well-placed
adjectives and adverbials and by
expanding noun and verb phrases to
enhance meaning.
2. Structure of There is a clear structure with some The overall structure is supported by sections or
sentences. use of sections or paragraphs*. Pupils paragraphs* which enable the clear
organise ideas to include an development of information/narrative. Simple
introduction and a conclusion – within and complex sentences are organised into
sections, ideas are mainly linked paragraphs* and there is some attempt to link
through topic, though there may be paragraphs* (eg. through text connectives such
some lack of connection (AF4). Pupils as ‘because …’). Within paragraphs* or
are beginning to use grammatically sections, main ideas are developed by detail or
complex sentences*, extending elaboration and supported by reasons or
meaning. explanation. Paragraphs* are used to structure
events, signalling shifts in time or place by
adverbials. (AF4).Simple and complex
sentences* are organised into paragraphs*.
3. Spelling. Spelling, including that of polysyllabic* Words with complex regular patterns are usually
words that conform to regular patterns, spelt correctly.
is generally accurate.
4. Full stops, capital letters and question A range of punctuation, including commas,
Punctuation. marks are used correctly, and pupils are apostrophes and inverted commas, is usually
beginning to use punctuation within the used accurately. They recognise sentence
sentence. boundaries and demarcate them accurately.
5. Handwriting Handwriting style is fluent, joined and Handwriting is joined, clear and fluent and,
style. legible. where appropriate, is adapted to a range of

* Terminology
Simple sentence
A simple sentence consists of one clause. A clause is built around one subject/verb combination
Compound sentence
A compound sentence is a sentence that contains two or more main clauses linked by coordinating
conjunctions (such as and, or, but, or a semicolon). This is an important grammatical structure as it allows a
writer or speaker to use a single sentence to explain more than one linked idea.
Complex sentence
A complex sentence consists of a main clause and one or more subordinate clauses. The main clause gives
the important information in the sentence, and the subordinate (or dependent clause) acts to add extra
information about the main clause
Subordinate clauses can never stand alone as a sentence as their function is simply to add extra
information to their main clause.
A paragraph consists of one or more sentences, and typically deals with a single thought or topic or quotes
one speaker's continuous words. Paragraphs are denoted by the use of a distinct division of the written or
printed matter with each new paragraph beginning on a new line (which is usually indented).
A word of more than one syllable.
Name: ______________

Learning objectives
During today’s lesson, you are going to learn:

1. to define peer assessment

1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8 – 9 – 10


2. to explain why peer assessment is useful

1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8 – 9 – 10


3. to describe at least 5 key features of effective peer assessment

1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8 – 9 – 10