Team self-reporting through peer and self-assessment is a common practice in higher education. Peer and self-assessment are effective devices for enhancing the students' learning experience, improving team performance, helping students develop teamwork skills, and adjusting team grades for individual performance.
Peer and self-assessment are grounded in theories of active learning, adult learning, and social constructionism. Research shows that when learners are actively involved in their own learning and assessment they are motivated to engage with course material more deeply and become more effective learners. When students assess their own and others' work they develop a better understanding of the relationship between the assessment criteria and intended learning outcomes, and their capacity to reflect on and evaluate their own and others' learning and skill development.
Peer and self-assessment have a vital role to play in formative assessment or, "assessment for learning." They can also be used as a component in a summative assessment strategy. For example, peer and self-assessment are particularly important for assessing teamwork process because the only people who really know what happened in the team communication and shared learning experience are the members themselves.
What is Peer Assessment?
Peer assessment is a process in which students apply instructor-defined criteria or standards to provide feedback on the extent to which peers have met the criteria or standards. In teamwork, peer assessment is a way of verifying and/or validating what other students claim to have contributed to the team and its final product. Team members may rate, rank and/or offer qualitative feedback on the contributions of others. A formative peer assessment early in the assignment can improve learning and help members redress what the group might identify as problems they are experiencing at that stage.
Peer assessment may also be summative if instructors use the assessment to contribute to the grades awarded to students. When used as part of summative assessment, a common strategy to ensure fairness is to give students credit for completing the peer assessment appropriately, rather than using its content to determine grades. Peer assessments may be anonymous or name-identified, depending on the maturity and comfort level of the student participants.
What is Self-Assessment?
Self-assessment is a process in which students apply instructor and/or self-defined criteria or standards to their own work, and make judgements about the extent to which they have met these criteria and standards. Self-assessment helps students develop the capacity to be a realistic judge of their own learning performance. This form of assessment is commonly a supplement to teacher assessment of students, but in some cases it may replace it.