Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Predictive Effects of Online Peer Feedback Types on Performance Quality

Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Predictive Effects of Online Peer Feedback Types on Performance Quality

Article excerpt

Introduction

Several theories and empirical studies have suggested that peer-assessment strategies can enhance the quality of designed products (Olson, 1990; Topping, 1998; Yu, 2011; Yu & Wu, 2011). Existing studies on peer-assessment have mostly focused on investigating: (1) learners' perceptions of gains from feedback given by peers and attitudes towards peer-assessment (e.g., Venables & Summit, 2003; Wen & Tsai, 2006; Wen, Tsai, & Chang, 2006; Yu & Wu, 2011), (2) the validity and reliability of peer-assessment (e.g., Cho & MacArthur, 2010; Falchikov & Goldfinch, 2000; Hughes & Large, 1993; Smith, 1990; van Zundert, Sluijsmans & van Merrienboer, 2010) and (3) effects of different methods and timings of peer-assessment on learning outcomes (e.g., Gielen, Peeters, Dochy, Onghena, & Struyven, 2010; Strijbos, Narciss, & Dunnebier, 2010; van Steendam, Riljlaarsdam, Sercu, & van den Bergh, 2010; van den Berg, Admiraal, & Pilot, 2006).

In light of many of the distinct features and capabilities of networked technologies (such as high processing speeds, large amounts of storage space, learner control, multimedia, simultaneity, instantaneity, space-, time-and device-independence, flexibility, interactivity, among others), numerous online peer-assessment systems have been developed and have demonstrated their efficacy over the past decade. While great strides have been made in this area, a few research gaps still exist. Among these, effects of different types of feedback on produced work still require more investigation. Considering that feedback can be expressed in both quantitative and descriptive terms, its individual and combined predicative effects are examined in this study. Three research hypotheses are proposed:

1. The averaged quantitative ratings received online from assessors will significantly predict the quality of produced work.

2. The quality of the descriptive comments received online from assessors will significantly predict the quality of produced work.

3. The combined averaged quantitative ratings and the quality of the descriptive comments received online from assessors for the composed questions will significantly predict the quality of produced work.

By assessing the validity of the above questions, we hope to illuminate ways in which peer-assessment activities and environments can be better designed to improve the quality of examined work.

Literature review

Conceptualization of peer-assessment

Peer-assessment can be viewed as a highly effective collaborative learning activity in which learners produce lesson-related artifacts, critically evaluate artifacts produced by their peers and provide them with feedback, and receive feedback from their peers regarding their own produced artifacts (Ammer, 1998; Falchikov & Goldfinch, 2000; Fallows & Chandramohan; 2001; Topping, 1998; van Gennip, Segers, & Tillema, 2010). Through mutual support and assistance, peers with similar learning statuses assist each other to achieve learning goals and to extend both their knowledge bases and skill levels (Topping & Ehly, 2001). Such collaborative relationships not only help to assess the quality of submissions or student performance according to a set of criteria, but also identify areas that may be improved upon and offer suggestions for ways in which the work or performance may be refined (Boud, Cohen, & Sampson, 1999; Topping, 1998; Topping, 2010). Considering that peers tend to be within or near each other's zone of proximal developments, peers' comments may be more easily understood by learners than instructors' (Ammer, 1998; Fallows & Chandramohan, 2001).

Several cognitive processes are mobilized when students are engaged in peer-assessment activities. Assessing the relative quality and merits of the examined work encourages students to engage in critical thinking. …

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