The potential for online peer assessment : reflections from two modules
The work described in this presentation relates to the evolution of peer assessment in first year undergraduate students in Life Sciences and Computer Science at the University of Hertfordshire. The objective of this research was to foster the development of higher order thinking skills and to deliver fast, effective feedback to learners in first year undergraduate modules in two different schools. In the first part of the project, the peer assessment of a laboratory report was introduced to first year Sports Science and Bioscience students. Bioscience students have been doing peer assessment for the last five years and their attitude has been very positive. However the Sports cohort appeared to be suspicious or hostile to the initiative. The methods used to improve the attitude of Sports’ learners to peer assessment are reported here. The results showed that this year both cohorts have done very well and overall 88.2% of Bioscience students and 74.9% of Sports students answered online questionnaire agreed or strongly agreed to all the questions. In the second part of the project, we were able to show that Computer Science students following an E Media course benefited significantly by the introduction of peer assessment of previous cohort’s work. In the first year an improvement of 6% was achieved in their final assessment and the following year a further 4%. This could only have been due to the peer assessment initiative. In the final section we discuss the potential for using peer assessment in online modules.