Faculty Today

New peer assessment website launched by Teaching and Learning Services

by Diane Maratta and Carolyn Samuel

Have you been thinking of using Peer Assessment (PA) in any of your courses? We, at Teaching and Learning Services (TLS), have added a new “PA” section to our website with resources to support instructors who wish to implement PA in their courses.

As we’ve indicated on the website, “Peer Assessment refers to students providing feedback on other students’ assignments to help them improve their work.”

The new web content includes a best practices resource document to facilitate the instructor’s role in implementing PA. The site also has links to examples of guiding questions, rubrics, checklists, and rating scales for doing PA with a variety of written and oral assignments. If you’re wondering how PA actually plays out with students, check out some blog posts that highlight actual cases of PA implementation in McGill courses.

PA Jennie

TLS recently launched these PA materials at a pilot workshop entitled Designing Effective Peer Assessment Assignments. The number of participants who attended suggested that instructors have a keen interest in PA.

The workshop was designed for participants to become familiar with best practices for implementing PA; leave with a plan for implementing PA in one of their courses; and be aware of resources to support PA at McGill.

PA Room

Participants had the opportunity to begin drafting a PA assignment for one of their courses, and they got to engage in some peer feedback themselves!

PA Pair

Feedback from participants* suggests that the pilot workshop and companion resource materials were helpful:

I’m so happy, I’m leaving with a draft plan. In response to a comment made during the session, I actually like how you acknowledge that there isn’t a cookie cutter approach but we need to be able to justify our decisions.

I learned a lot about student buy-in. I think it’s a great idea to include the students in the development of the assessment criteria. I also appreciated the exercise of creating my own PA assignment. It helped me see the details I was missing.

Peer reviewing is worth doing even though it is challenging – it takes careful and intentional planning.

If you didn’t attend the workshop, you’ll find guidelines at the website on how to implement strategies that will foster student buy-in and support students with providing one another with constructive feedback. Instructors are also welcome to request a one-on-one consultation to discuss implementing PA in their courses.

Be sure to check the TLS calendar for future workshop offerings.

How have you used PA with your students?

*Feedback comments used with permission.

Senior Academic Associate at McGill's Teaching and Learning Services.; former Senior Faculty Lecturer at the McGill Writing Centre; area of specialization: Second Language Education; loves teaching and learning; will work for chocolate (Photo credit: Owen Egan)

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