The challenges and benefits of self and peer assessment

If we suggested that you should include self and/or peer assessment in your learning & teaching toolbox, what would you do? Would you shake your head and say it’s too hard? Would you talk about previous suboptimal experiences? Or would you say that you’re already doing it, but you wished that you had better resources and tools to implement it well?

We (Joanna Tai, Chie Adachi & Phillip Dawson) are all enthusiastic supporters of self and peer assessment, but we also have cautions and reservations about its use. To discover others’ experiences and better characterise which barriers could be overcome, we interviewed 13 academics across a range of disciplines and faculties to find out what the particular current challenges and benefits are. While many papers (including our own) extensively cover the benefits of self and peer assessment, fewer papers acknowledge the practical pitfalls. We set out to provide a more balanced perspective on self and peer assessment.

Our findings have recently been published in Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education. Many of the participants reported the same benefits (in their experience) of self and peer assessment as in the literature, in seven themes. We also identified five areas of challenges as reported by participants. These went beyond the reports already in the literature, and with this information, we are now better informed to be able to implement self and peer assessment effectively.

This paper is part of a project was initiated by Chie Adachi, as part of the Deakin Learning Future’s Student Journey and Experience Plan and we are glad to be working together on such a fruitful collaboration.

We will be showcasing our work and suggested strategies to address these challenges at the HERDSA conference next week in Sydney. Our presentation  is on Thursday 29 June, 11:55 to 12:25, in Room C2.1. Hope to see you there!

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