Academic journal article Journal of Information Systems Education

Team-Based Peer Review as a Form of Formative Assessment-The Case of a Systems Analysis and Design Workshop

Academic journal article Journal of Information Systems Education

Team-Based Peer Review as a Form of Formative Assessment-The Case of a Systems Analysis and Design Workshop

Article excerpt

The present study was carried out within a systems analysis and design workshop. In addition to the standard analysis and design tasks, this workshop included practices designed to enhance student capabilities related to non-technical knowledge areas, such as critical thinking, interpersonal and team skills, and business understanding. Each task was reviewed and assessed by both the students and the instructor. The main research study objective was to examine the effect of team- based peer-review on the students' learning process in an information systems workshop. What is presented is data referring to the grading process, to students' enhanced learning reflected in the narrowing gap between the instructor's and the students' grading, as well as the students' reflections demonstrating their perception of the workshop's components.

Keywords: peer review, team-based peer review, formative assessment, SOLO taxonomy, systems analysis and design.


Software based systems manage and control many aspects of the daily activities of modern society. Management Information Systems (MIS) not only offer organizations tools for better management, but have become business boosting infrastructures (Laudon and Laudon, 2005: Bocij et al., 2005). The systems analysis and design workshop is a significant component of the Management Information Systems (MIS) curricula, and in addition to learning the ordinary analysis and design themes, it aims, to provide students with non-technical knowledge areas, such as critical thinking, inter-personal skills, team skills, and business understanding. The workshop served as a framework within which students could demonstrate and augment their understanding of the ways technology usage can develop new organizational processes and achieving organizational goals.

Bearing in mind student difficulties regarding these non-technical knowledge areas, the workshop structure employed many team-based activities and assignments. In addition to the ordinary technical assignments, such as planning, analyzing, and designing the project, the students were engaged in reviewing and evaluating their fellow students' projects. We term this form of evaluation 'team-based peer review' (TBPR), a type of formative assessment. As in the ordinary software development life cycle, the workshop assignments' complexity level rose incrementally, along with the cognitive skills needed to successfully accomplish them. Hence the workshop stages followed the SOLO (Structure of the Observed Learning Outcomes) taxonomy (Biggs and Collis, 1982) and elevated students' overall understanding of the processes to a higher level of abstraction. This paper describes the workshop structure and the encouraging results that were obtained.


Aware of the crucial role assessment plays in higher education's overall quality of teaching and learning, different variations of evaluation processes have been developed over the years. A well-designed assessment sets clear expectations, establishes a reasonable workload, and provides opportunities for students to self-monitor, rehearse, practice, and receive feedback. Formative assessment is among the different variations of evaluation processes. For MIS graduates who are required demonstrate their proficiency in technology-enabled business development, assessment and peer review are important cornerstones in the MIS curriculum (Gorgone et al., 2002).

In our MIS program, students working toward their B.A. degrees are required to participate in certain courses that are not traditional lecture-based classes. In these courses students have to take full responsibility for both their own learning processes and for teaching a certain topic to their classmates. Many researchers recognize the benefits and the importance of using Formative Assessment (FA) during the learning process (Wiggins and McTighe, 2000; William and Thompson, 2007; Saphier, 2005). …

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