Peer assessment was introduced as a means of disseminating feedback to students on their writing to enable them to act upon it when writing their summative assignment. As peer markers, students gained insight into the marking process and could see what was expected from the essay. Peer assessment shifted the class from a teacher-centred approach towards a student-centred approach.
In the following video, Dr. Sigrun Wagner explains how and why she set up peer assessment in her class, and how it benefitted her students.
Student Reflective Feedback
“Preparing and receiving peer feedback was a very valuable exercise, since it disclosed not only weaknesses in the essay writing skills, but also illustrated the strong skills that did not appear to be advantageous before. … Moreover, when I was correcting my peer’s work I was put in the position of the professor who marks the work, therefore, I was able to gain an insight into what you expect from an essay and how the written information is perceived by that person. It has shown me that even if it appears to be clearly written, one should pay attention to the way how thoughts are expressed in essays.”
“I found the assessment exercise more useful when assessing than when being assessed. … As both assessee and assessor, it made me realise how many mistakes, confusions, or even imprecisions we constantly leave in our essays. So when quoting my sources this time I kept asking myself whether what I was saying was really what the source said, or whether I was making it up. It also drew my attention on points that I formerly found less relevant, such as the layout which actually determines whether the essay is pleasant to read or not.”
Sigrun has published an article on this in the journal 'Learning Development in Higher Education'.