Tips for Teachers: 32. Peer and Self-assessment

May 7, 2024 | Blogs

Tips for Teachers: 32. Peer and Self-assessment

May 7, 2024 | Blogs

‘It is important to distinguish between peer and self-marking, which are useful aids to reducing marking workload for simple tasks, and peer and self-assessment, which creates useful feedback and can contribute to learning. Taking part in peer and self-assessment activities has a positive effect on attainment.’ Hattie, 2009

Research shows it is not the quality of peer feedback that makes the difference, but the process of engaging with thinking about current performance and how to improve it. Pupils do get better at providing peer feedback over time.

Dylan Wiliam notes that when we talk about peer-assessment, a lot of people assume we are talking about pupils marking each other’s work, so a teacher doesn’t have to. This is summative peer-assessment, but when we look at formative peer-assessment, where pupils help each other to improve their work, it has clear benefits for not only the person receiving the feedback but also for the pupil providing it.

‘Peer and self-assessment are powerful forms of feedback when harnessed correctly. However, you cannot expect pupils to master the art of effective peer and self-assessment without first understanding how to meaningfully respond to feedback themselves, and second, having a clear mental model of what effective peer and self-assessment looks like.’

When done well, peer and self-assessment can:

  • Give pupils the opportunity to think carefully about their own learning and that of their peers,
  • Reduce marking load for the teacher,
  • Allow pupils to develop their mental model of what success looks like in a task and support them to develop transferrable knowledge,
  • Support self-regulation and independence.

When done poorly however, it can lead to:

There are many ways of using and supporting peer and self-assessment. Here are 9 tips and ideas:

  1. Teacher modelling and worked examples,
  2. Provide scaffolding and marking rubrics,
  3. Peer or self-margin marking / notes,
  4. Provide pupil friendly mark schemes / success criteria,
  5. Self-highlighting evidence against success criteria,
  6. Peers explain in pairs: ‘What I did well’,
  7. Share a favourite quote from partner’s work,
  8. Traffic lights – to quickly indicate understanding of learning from the lesson,
  9. Exit cards – comment to self-assess from learning from the lesson.

    Dylan Wiliam recommends ‘four quarters marking’. Within this he asserts that teachers should mark in detail 25% of work, skim 25% of what pupils do, 25% should be self-assessed by the pupil with teachers monitoring the quality and the final 25% should be peer assessment.

      This blog was written by Bretta Townend-Jowitt, Education Consultant and Trainer. 

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