Using Peer Assessment and
Self-Assessment for the
The case study detailed in this chapter outlines the experiences I had in my first encounter with any form of assessment other than tutor-based. Despite assurances from colleagues that the outcome of the use of a combination of peer assessment and self-assessment is generally that the students end up with lower marks than a tutor would have awarded them, my expectation was that the reverse would be true. In the case described, my fears were realized, but further consideration of this outcome revealed much to me about my own attitudes towards assessment, and revealed flaws in my implementation of the assessment exercise, arising in particular from my use of peer assessment. In this account, I describe the assessment exercise and attempt to outline the flaws in implementation. I also offer proposals for an improved means of implementing it in the future.
As part of an introductory taught module on basic information technology and communication skills, -students are to improve their skills in the presentation of information. One specific aim of the module is to give students experience of group presentations and to direct them towards good practices. The exercise is assessed to provide grades (Fail, Pass, Merit, Distinction) for certain Business and Technical Education Council (BTEC) common skills areas for the students (concerned with the presentation of information, working in teams, and oral and non-verbal communication). In the case described here, two classes were involved: 26 first-year Higher National Diploma (HND) Mathematics and Computing students, and 17 first-year HND Business Decision Analysis students.
In general, many of the students taking the module are not well motivated and make little effort in many parts of it, including the group presentations. Some means of involving them more in this important exercise was