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This paper provides an example of self and peer assessment among Spanish students pursuing a business administration degree (first and third year) as well as the results of our study and concluding remarks. We point out differences between the results for the first- and third-year students. Whereas students in their first year are beginners with respect to this kind of task, third-year students are proficient at this kind of assessment
© Research Journal of Internatıonal Studıes - Issue 18 (January, 2011) 41
Self, Peer and Teacher Assessment as Active Learning Methods
Elisa Amo
Departamento de Análisis Económico y Finanzas,Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha
Plaza de la Universidad, 1, 02071, Albacete, Spain
E-mail: elisa.amo@uclm.es
Tel: +34-967-599200; Fax: +34-967-599216
Francisco Jareño
Departamento de Análisis Económico y Finanzas,Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha
Plaza de la Universidad, 1, 02071, Albacete, Spain
E-mail: francisco.jareno@uclm.es
Tel: +34-967-599200; Fax: +34-967-599216
Abstract
This paper provides an example of self and peer assessment among Spanish students
pursuing a business administration degree (first and third year) as well as the results of our
study and concluding remarks. We point out differences between the results for the first-
and third-year students. Whereas students in their first year are beginners with respect to
this kind of task, third-year students are proficient at this kind of assessment.
Keywords: Self-assessment, peer assessment, teacher assessment, the European Higher
Education Area.
1. Introduction
Self and peer assessments are being increasingly used in higher education to help students learn more
efficiently. However, there are few papers discussing these methods.
In higher education, the teacher normally instructs by using the expository method. Students are
assessed with a single final exam related to the presented subject material. The grades obtained by
students using this teaching method are typically very poor for both the ordinary and extraordinary
exam sessions, in spite of the fact that tests have been adjusted to the presented content. The diagnosis
is very straightforward: students have not regularly worked on the problems and reviewed the
explanations given in class, and the students are not aware of their mistakes or any learning
deficiencies accumulated during the academic year. New teaching methodologies used in our classes
(such as self-assessment) provide the necessary feedback to achieve the teaching goals (Nicol and
Macfarlane-Dick, 2006).
Self-assessment develops the self-judgmental ability of students through analysis of their own
work in class and at home (Kayler and Weller, 2007, and Mok et al., 2006). Peer assessment provides
feedback related to the ability of the student to make this judgment (Brown and Glasner, 2007).
Students have always thought of assessment as the worst part of their studies (Becker and
Rosen, 1992). They have sometimes even considered it as revenge by their teachers or professors. In
the current European Higher Education Area (Vidal, 2003), students must understand that self-
assessment is a key part of their learning (De Miguel, 2006, and Prieto Navarro, 2007).
When using a correct assessment system, students perceive assessment as a motivating and
productive part of their education because this procedure informs them if they are good at learning and
are able achieve proposed goals (Martin et al., 2002, and Munns, G. and Woodward, 2006).
© Research Journal of Internatıonal Studıes - Issue 18 (January, 2011) 42
Before selecting the type of assessment, teachers should think about these questions: Why
assess? Which aspects should be evaluated? How will the assessment work? And when would this
assessment be the most timely and productive? After reflecting on these questions, teachers can select
the most suitable tools to achieve the goals. There are many assessment techniques (Fallows and
Chandramohan, 2001). In this study, we selected only two types of assessment—self and peer
assessment—to develop the students’ critical awareness, which is a very important skill for
professionals (Boekaerts, 1991, and Ridgway, 2004).
Thus, our research analysed some differences and similarities between two different groups of
students that use self and peer assessment in their learning processes. We concluded that students in the
first year of the business administration degree did not seem to be very good at judging their own
work; meanwhile, students in the third year seemed to be good at peer and self-evaluation after
performing such assessments several times.
This paper is organised as follows. Section 2 describes self and peer assessment and the aims,
methodology and results of our practical application. Section 3 includes a summary of the main results
and conclusions.
2. Self and Peer Assessment: Practical Application among Spanish Students
Normally, self and peer assessment are used jointly as a single assessment method, although they
pursue very different goals. Self-assessment develops skills of critical awareness and enables students
to become reflective and self-managing, to identify the next steps in learning and to move forward
‘under their own steam’. Peer assessment offers feedback between students and also allows students to
make comparisons with each other (Liu and Carless, 2006). Another aim of this sort of assessment is
student motivation because this type of assessment involves the students in their final results.
2.1. Aims, Methodology and Development of the Activity
This paper presents evidence on the use of self and peer assessment as a pilot test in two groups of
business administration students. The evaluated activity was work that students had presented in class.
Our research sample consisted of one group of students in the first year of the business
administration degree (47 students) and another group of students in the third year (22 students).
Each work group was made up of 4 or 5 students. When their work was finished, they had to
explain it, and all of the students were supposed to participate in this presentation. All of the students
were present during the presentations, and, after the presentations, they assessed themselves and their
classmates.
The students did not assess content or structure; they only evaluated the public presentation.
This process began with a consensus on the assessment criteria between teacher and the
students. These criteria should always be clear from the beginning of an assessment session to obtain
the highest possible objectivity.
The students and teacher agreed on the following idea: the teacher would globally assess each
group, and students would assess each other individually.
The aspects evaluated by the teacher were the following:
They correctly modulate their voice.
They speak directly to the public to keep their attention.
They use a suitable language.
They clearly present their subject matter.
They manage their time well.
Teachers assessed the presentations base on the previous aspects using scores between 0 and 5.
Finally, we used the following qualification rubric:
© Research Journal of Internatıonal Studıes - Issue 18 (January, 2011) 43
A score of two or lower: the presentation was bad (B)
A score of three: the presentation was normal (N)
A score of four: the presentation was good (G)
A score of five: the presentation was very good (VG)
The teacher’s assessment was worth double the weight of the self and peer assessments.
2.2. Results
In this section, we show our results and figures. These give a clear idea of the process and enable a
comparison between the results for both groups.
As we can see in Figure 1, students in the first year assigned significantly higher assessment
scores than the objective teacher did. However, in the third year, this tendency radically changes, and
their evaluations were consistently lower than those of the objective teacher.
Figure 1: Relationship between self, peer and teacher assessment scores (displayed by group)
Panel 1: First-year students
0
0.5
1
1.5
2
2.5
3
3.5
4
4.5
5
1 3 5 7 9 11 13 15 17 19 21 23 25 27 29 31 33 35 37 39 41 43 45 47
Students
Assessment
Teacher Classmates Self-assessment
Panel 2: Third-year students
0
0.5
1
1.5
2
2.5
3
3.5
4
4.5
5
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22
Students
Assessment
Teacher Classmates Self-assessment
© Research Journal of Internatıonal Studıes - Issue 18 (January, 2011) 44
These results were confirmed by the relative proportions of the following three possible
situations:
Teacher evaluation higher than student assessment (positive difference).
Teacher assessment equal to student evaluation (null difference).
Teacher evaluation lower than student assessment (negative difference).
Figure 2: Cases in which the teacher evaluation score was higher than (positive)/equal to (null)/lower than
(negative) the student assessment score (in percentages)
Panel 1: First-year students
Dif. Teacher-Classmates
POSITIVE
13%
NULL
23%
NEGATIVE
64%
Dif. Teacher-Self-assessment
POSITIVE
26%
NULL
4%
NEGATIVE
70%
Panel 2: Third-year students
Dif. Teacher-Classmates
POSITIVE
86%
NULL
14%
NEGATIVE
0%
Dif. Teacher-Self-assessment
POSITIVE
86%
NULL
14%
NEGATIVE
0%
Figure 2 shows the tendency of first-year students to assign themselves higher evaluation scores
than they deserved (70 % in the case of self-evaluation and 64 % in the case of peer evaluation). Third-
year students were more critical of themselves and their classmates; thus, the case in which the teacher
assessment was higher than the student assessment reached a significant percentage in this subsample
(86 % in both cases: self and peer evaluation).
Finally, we analysed the main statistics for the differences between the teacher assessment
scores and student evaluation scores. We also tested the equality of the means, medians and variances
among our groups of students using parametric and nonparametric tests, and these statistics confirmed
the previous results. The statistically significant and negative mean in the case of first-year students
corroborates the fact that the teacher evaluation scores were lower than those assigned by the students.
In the case of third-year students, the evaluation difference was significantly positive (around
one percentage point) when we compared the teacher and peer evaluation scores (0,954) and when we
compared the teacher and self-evaluation scores (0,818). These results demonstrate that third-year
students are more critical when they evaluate themselves because their self-evaluation scores were
always lower than the teacher assessment score.
© Research Journal of Internatıonal Studıes - Issue 18 (January, 2011) 45
Table 1: Main statistics describing the differences between the teacher and student (self and peer assessment)
evaluation scores
Dif.Teach-Clas. 1st Dif.Teach-Clas. 3rd Dif.Teach-Self 1st Dif.Teach-Self 3rd
Mean -0.840426
c
0.954545
c
-0.772340
c
0.818182
c
Median -1.000000 1.000000 -0.700000 0.750000
Maximum 2.000000 1.500000 2.500000 1.500000
Minimum -3.000000 0.000000 -3.000000 0.000000
Std. Deviation 1.277338 0.433949 1.217571 0.524301
Skewness 0.421795 -1.168233 0.317292 0.010481
Kurtosis 2.759938 4.001982 2.647763 1.801290
Jarque-Bera 1.506497 5.924454 1.031588 1.317567
Probability 0.470834 0.051704 0.597026 0.517480
Observations 47 22 47 22
a
p < 0.10,
b
p < 0.05,
c
p < 0.01
2.3. Strong and Weak Points
In this study, we detected a number of weak and strong points that were common to both types of
evaluation. To summarise, we present the advantages and disadvantages that we found when using this
sort of evaluation (see Figure 3).
Figure 3: Advantages and disadvantages of self and peer assessment
ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES
Students are more motivated to be involved in their
work.
Students become observers of their own and others’
work, and they learn from these observations.
Students participate in their evaluation process,
promoting their responsibility (to themselves and to
their classmates).
The student’s critical awareness is developed.
Students may think that evaluation is the teacher’s
responsibility and that the professor uses student
evaluation to avoid correcting tests.
Students do not like to evaluate their classmates.
They may be too critical.
They may take the opportunity to rate themselves far
above what they deserve.
What do we do when the student and teacher evaluation
scores are very different?
To what extent is it necessary to reach a consensus with
students on their grades?
3. Concluding Remarks
We show the main findings of this research in Figure 4, classified into two groups: quantitative
findings (percentages reflecting the number of students who showed a certain tendency during the
activity), and qualitative findings (an overview based more on observation than on the data).
Figure 4: Quantitative and qualitative findings of our analysis
Panel A: Quantitative findings
FIRST YEAR THIRD YEAR
In 64 % of cases, peer evaluation scores were higher
than teacher evaluation scores.
In no case were peer evaluation scores higher than
teacher evaluation scores.
In 23 % of cases, peer assessment scores were equal to
teacher assessment scores.
In 14 % of cases, peer evaluation scores were similar to
teacher assessment scores.
In 13 % of cases, peer evaluation scores were lower
than teacher evaluation scores.
In 86 % of cases, peer assessment scores were lower
than teacher evaluation scores.
In 70 % of cases, self-assessment scores were higher
than teacher evaluation scores.
In no case were self-evaluation scores higher than
teacher assessment scores.
© Research Journal of Internatıonal Studıes - Issue 18 (January, 2011) 46
Figure 4: Quantitative and qualitative findings of our analysis - continous
In 4 % of cases, self-evaluation scores were very
similar to teacher assessment scores.
In 14 % of cases, self-assessment scores were equal to
teacher evaluation scores.
In 26 % of cases, self-assessment scores were lower
than teacher evaluation scores.
In 86 % of cases, self-evaluation scores were lower than
teacher assessment scores.
Panel B: Qualitative findings
FIRST YEAR THIRD YEAR
Students did not feel that they were partners in their
evaluation process, but rather they considered this kind
of activity as an obligation.
Students rated themselves very highly, thinking that
this evaluation may be taken into account by the
teacher.
Peer evaluation scores were very similar to (or slightly
lower than) self-assessment scores.
Students had some difficulties when they evaluated
each other, although the standards of assessment were
previously agreed upon.
Students did not seem to be very good at judging their
own work.
Students were motivated, and they participated in the
evaluation process as part of their learning.
Self assessment was very objective, and results were
quite similar to those of the teacher evaluation.
Peer evaluation scores were very similar to (or even
slightly higher than) self-assessment scores.
Students did not have difficulties when they evaluated
each other after the standards of assessment were agreed
upon.
Students seemed to be good at peer and self-evaluation
after they did it several times.
Acknowledgements
We would like to thank the attendees of the Workshop on Best Teaching Practices (International
Consortium “Eurolat”) between Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha (Albacete, Spain) and
Universitatea din Bucaresti (Bucarest, Romania), 10 June 2009, for their comments and suggestions.
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