/10/$25.00 ©2010 IEEE
October 27 - 30, 2010, Washington, DC
40th ASEE/IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference
Peer Assessment of Assignment
Badri Basnet, Lyn Brodie and John Worden
The University of Southern Queensland, Badri.Basnet@usq.edu.au, Lyn.Brodie@usq.edu.au, John.Worden@usq.edu.au
Abstract - We have appraised the effectiveness of peer
assessment of assignments in aiding student learning at
the University of Southern Queensland. Each student
was randomly allocated two peers’ assignments for
double-blind assessment. A marking rubric was
provided. More than 95% of the class participated in the
process. Students’ peer-assessment work was evaluated
by the instructor. Over 80% of the students assessed
their peers satisfactorily. Students' learning experiences,
attitudes and behavior towards the peer assessment
system was surveyed. More than 60% of the students
considered peer assessment a useful learning tool.
However 25% remained unconvinced. Most of these
students either fully or partially subscribed to William
Perry's position of 'dualism'. About 55% found the
feedback from their peer's useful. Surprisingly, >69% of
the students believed that the peer assessment had
nothing to contribute towards a students' community of
Index Terms – assignment, double-blind, marking rubric,
BACKGROUND AND CONCEPT
Written assignments are usually one of the main assessment
items in higher education institutions. Assignments are
marked and returned to the students as feedback. Well-
focused feedback helps students with their learning.
However, anecdotal evidence from teaching colleagues
indicates that assignment feedback is poorly utilized by most
students . Therefore, the current assignment marking and
feedback method is ineffective. Alternate mechanisms such
as the use of peer assessment - are being attempted at
various institutions to overcome this problem. Peer
assessment is a system that provides increased understanding
of the learning content, helps develop assessment and
constructive criticism skills, promotes critical thinking, and
allows reflection on one‟s own performance - and .
In view of these potential benefits, this study was conducted
to evaluate the overall learning effectiveness of the peer
assessment of assignments system.
This peer assessment of assignments study was conducted in
the Geographic Information Systems (GIS1402) course,
offered in both on-campus and distance modes, at the
University of Southern Queensland (USQ) in Semester 2,
It is a sequential process requiring completion of several
steps in a chronological order. The focus of the „preparation
phase‟ was to set-up an electronic assignment submission
system. Moodle and Turnitin based platforms were prepared
for the duplicate submissions of conventional written
assignments. A substitute assignment was provided for small
number of students not participating in the peer assessment
The „assessment phase‟ involved examination of the
electronically submitted assignments to the Moodle platform
that were appraised by the instructor. A second copy
submitted to the Turnitin platform was double-blind peer-
assessed by the fellow students. The peer assessment work
of the students was evaluated by the instructor. All these
assessments were based on comprehensive marking rubrics
prepared specifically for these purposes.
The „data acquisition phase‟ focused on collecting
survey data via 5-point based Likert-scale type questions.
The survey questions and the range of possible answers are
presented in Table 1. These questions were complemented
with the provision for descriptive comments.
DATA ACQUISITION MECHANISM
Likert-scale Type Survey Questions
1 What do you think about the peer
assessment system in general?
2 Has peer assessment improved your
understanding of the course material?
3 Do you find peer assessment a useful
learning tool in learning journey?
4 Did peer assessment instigate you to
interact with fellow students?
5 What do you think about the
feedback from your peers?
6 Do you suggest any improvement to
peer assessment system?
The „data analysis phase‟ involved processing
subjective opinions of the students, expressed in a Likert-
scale, as ordinal data. They were summarized numerically
and collated as bar charts to reveal our findings. The
descriptive comments enriched the collected data. They were
used to elaborate and understand students‟ responses.
Answer Range (1-5)
Total waste of time to very
useful system, plus comments.
Definitely no to definitely yes
No it‟s useless to yes it is very
useful, plus comments.
Definitely no to definitely yes,
Totally useless to very useful,
No throw it away to it is
perfect, plus comments.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS
Our results are presented and discussed in the following
sections. The first three survey questions produced similar
responses because the usefulness of the peer assessment
system was the focus of these questions. The answer to the
first survey question is presented as an example in Figure 1