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Self and peer assessment are being used more often in higher education contexts as a way of diversifying assessment practices. They are most commonly used in conjunction with group work, but can also be used quite effectively when the assessment work has been done by individuals. Essentially, the process involves students making judgements about their own work or the work of their peers in relation to clearly defined criteria. A preliminary part of the process may involve students in negotiating the development of some or all of the criteria. Irrespective of whether this happens students need to have a clear understanding of the learning objectives and the criteria by which those objectives will be judged.
There are a number of ways of implementing self and peer assessment, but as with group work, the important consideration is that it should be educationally beneficial for students, and should enhance their learning in unique ways. Several research studies have been carried out on self and peer assessment. The evidence suggests that students' learning is enhanced, but there has been no meta-analysis or systematic review of findings across the studies. To address this gap, a protocol for a review of the literature has been produced by the Assessment Review Group in the Institute of Education, University of London, (See Deakin-Crick et al. 2005). The outcomes of this review will provide some very useful insights into the value of self and peer assessment.
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