Enhancing Student Engagement with Peer Assessment

Peer assessment is a structured learning framework in which students provide critical and helpful feedback on each others’ work. It teaches students to analyze and deliver feedback to others and how to self-assess and improve their work.

Some of the early observations that Dr. Nishimura witnessed since she started using Kritik were:

  1. Increase in student engagement in her class 
  2. An inclusive and bias-free learning environment that suits the needs of diverse students needs 
  3. Students were able to build a stronger foundation for their course concepts 
  4. With her online writing projects, students received timely and personalized feedback

With the peer assessment exercises, she was able to save time for grading allowing more time for her and her TAs to coach and mentor students. 

"The only time I grade is when there is a dispute. Most often I would agree with the person who gave the feedback and end up writing a letter on appreciating constructive feedback." 

Learn more about how peer assessment impacts instructors and students.

Activity type: Scientific Writing 

Dr. Nishimura teaches a Scientific Communication course to 2nd-year students. In her class of 140 students, she conducted short weekly reflection activities as a way to engage students in their courses. These activities were worth 30% of the final grade ensuring a healthy balance of peer review while maintaining student engagement. 

Initially, she focused on communicating the ‘why’ of the assignment to students who were less motivated to finish activities for which they do not understand the objective. However, after enrolling her students in Kritik, she took the time to describe her course objectives and her expectations of learning outcomes.

Dr. Nishimura also built a simple rubric that focused on two key points: Critical Thinking and Clear & Concise Writing. This set the right expectations and helped the students evaluate their peers to only look at these two criteria when giving feedback.

Here’s a snapshot of Dr. Nishimura’s success with Kritik:

Watch Dr. Nishimura take a deep dive into her activities and rubrics.

Key Takeaway: Student Engagement

Dr. Nishimura set out with the goal to achieve student engagement with peer assessment in her courses and was very pleased with the results. Kritik gave her students more exposure and an active voice in each others’ learning. 

Student peer evaluation also gave opportunities to check from time to time on how well they were progressing which contributed to creating a collaborative learning environment in the classroom. Her students developed critical thinking skills and learned how to give effective evaluations by attempting dynamic assessments and effectively following the peer evaluation rubric. 

Schedule a demo with our team today to find out how Kritik can suit your specific course needs.

Dr. Mayu Nishimura
Dr. Mayu Nishimura
McMaster University
Assistant Professor of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour

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