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Peer Assessment

Peer Assessment

Peer assessment is students taking responsibility for assessing the work of their peers against defined assessment criteria:

  • it can lead to feedback (peer review) and/or summative grades
  • it can be used for individual work, contributions to group work, or group work outputs
  • it can be anonymous, or not

Why should I use peer assessment?

Phil Race has defined a number of reasons to use peer assessment:

  • students will get the chance to find out more about assessment culture
  • lecturers have less time to assess than before
  • learning is enhanced when students have contributed to their marking criteria
  • assessing is a good way to achieve deep learning
  • students can learn from the successes of others
  • students can learn from other's mistakes

Race, P. (2001). The Lecturer's Toolkit. London. Kogan Page, pp. 94-95.

Students working on a task together

Where can I use peer assessment?

Potentially anywhere... But wherever you use it you will need to consider the assessment carefully and possibly tweak it to make it fit well.

Peer assessment requires students to develop/have some skill in:

  • evaluating their own performance
  • identifying strengths, weaknesses and areas to improve
  • comprehending the assessment criteria


Setting up a task

Before setting a review or assessment task for individuals or groups do make sure that you set ground rules, expectations and provide a structure for feedback (questions, a rubric, or grading form).

Peer Review

With oversight, peer review can provide an effective way of generating feedback, as part of a formative piece of work, or as stage towards a summatively assessed piece of work for example.

Essay → Peer Review → peer feedback

Essay plan → Peer review → Feedback → Final essay → feedback

Peer review is also a valuable way to help students engage more deeply with assessment criteria. 

In group settings, peer review can help students reflect on their group processes and on interpersonal attributes. 

More about Peer Assessment and Peer Review