Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education | 2019

The influence of peer assessment training on assessment knowledge and reflective writing skill



The purpose of this paper is to examine the influence of peer-assessment training as a catalyst to enhance student assessment knowledge and the ability to effectively evaluate reflective journal writing assignments when using the online peer assessment (PA) tool Expertiza.,Over a two-year period, end-of-unit assessment test scores and reflective writing samples from a peer-assessment participation group were compared to a no peer-assessment control group. Analysis of covariance was used to control for existing writing skill and ongoing feedback on writing samples.,No significant increases were observed in student assessment knowledge when participating in peer-assessment training. Comparison of matched participant samples revealed that after controlling for existing writing skill, students participating in PA graded reflective writing assignments significantly lower than instructor-graded assessments from students not afforded peer-assessment participation.,No distinction was made on the relative influence of giving or receiving PA influenced performance on the outcome measures. Second, students making multiple revisions based on feedback were not analyzed. Third, the Expertiza system does not control for the number of reviews performed, thus differential weighting of assessment outcomes may be realized unless all students submit and perform the same number of assessments. Finally, in absence of any qualitative analysis as to what factors students consider when grading writing samples, it is unknown as to how individual difference factors or adherence to scoring rubrics may have influenced the obtained results.,Students may be reticent evaluating peers or utilize grading criteria beyond the mandatory evaluation rubrics. Clear distinctions should be provided to students indicating how instructional content aligns with skills needed to conduct assessment. Training that addresses the theoretical and transactional components of PA are important, but teachers should recognize that when developing assessment skills learners undergo a developmental catharsis related to building trust and establishing a secure and comfortable identity as an assessor. Peer review systems should quantify the relative contribution of each reviewer through the measurement of frequency, timeliness and accuracy of the feedback, compared with instructor standards/evaluations.,This paper reduces the gap in the literature concerning how PA evolves over time and identifies factors related to the etiology of the peer-review process. In addition, the paper reveals new information regarding the calibration between instructor and peer evaluations.

Volume 11
Pages 863-875
DOI 10.1108/JARHE-01-2019-0004
Language English
Journal Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education

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