4 Ways Peer Assessment Prepares Students for the Real-World

Peer assessment has an immense portfolio of benefits to students that can be applicable in their educational careers. Several higher educational institutions have promoted the use of peer assessment for it’s benefits to student learning and skill application after graduation. The University of British Columbia, outlines peer-to-peer assessment as a tool that can develop several real-world skills where students can enhance their engagement in critical review of their future colleagues (The University of Birtish Columbia, n.d.). 

 “3 in 4 employers say they have a hard time finding graduates with the soft skills their companies need.” (Wilkie D., 2019)

With peer assessment, students are not only able to receive deeper learning of the content at hand, but they are able to implement important skills that employers are looking for in post-graduate candidates. 

Critical thinking skills

Critical thinking is the ability to ask questions about the information that is presented to you, analyze it, and draw appropriate conclusions based on the knowledge and details you have gathered to ultimately improve your work (University of Louisville, n.d.). With peer assessment, the act of evaluating others allows you to take information and draw conclusions based on the content and actively apply suggestions and constructive criticism. 

At Kritik, we enhance this action by enforcing a 360-degree feedback loop where students both give and receive feedback on their evaluations. This enables students to think critically while giving quality feedback, but also forces them to reflect on how it may be perceived by their peers. Being exposed to multiple pieces of content based on an aspect of course material equips students to effectively evaluate their peers in an accurate manner. When a student assesses the feedback provided by their peers, they are able to analyze information and begin applying their feedback to their work to enhance the quality of their learning. 

“[Before Kritik], the students never thought that they could evaluate someone because they’re so used to me evaluating them. I liked the fact that [Kritik] had a strong critical thinking component and the students were able to grade their peers.” - Professor Francine Guice

Honesty and integrity

In both peer assessment and real-world situations, the act of providing honest feedback to others is an important part of your learning and building strong relationships. At Kritik, we pride ourselves on creating an environment that nurtures the act of honesty through peer assessment. In the grading process, our AI calculates a student’s grade based on how accurately and fairly a student grades their peer's work compared to the overall mark the creation receives. In other words, we calculate a student’s grade based on how similarly they graded a peer’s work compared to the final score of the creation. 

This allows students to actively practice honesty and integrity, two extremely important skills that they will carry with them post-graduation. It will enhance their ability to build trustworthy connections within their personal and professional relationships.

In the higher-educational landscape, the performance-driven culture continues to intensify making collaborative relationships more desired with honesty and integrity (Cleary et al., 2013). The act of being honest creates an environment of confidence, allowing individuals to feel an increased sense of productivity due to the reduced amount of intransparent and vague communication. 

Providing feedback in a constructive manner

Ensuring that feedback is provided in a way that has structure and purpose helps peers to efficiently digest the information, and enables them to construct an effective action plan to implement the feedback they received.  At Kritik, we present three stages that allow students to develop the act of providing feedback in a constructive manner. In the first stage, Create, students are enabled to showcase their current understanding of course concepts. Once students have submitted their creations, their work is distributed to their peers who then analyze and apply meaningful feedback and evaluations on their work. In a study that compared student perceptions on giving feedback and receiving feedback, it was found that students were able to improve their work through simply giving feedback to their peers before even receiving their own feedback (Li et al., 2019). Finally, the feedback stage allows students to conceptualize and understand where they did well and where they need to improve. They are required provide feedback back to their peers based on how motivational and critical their evaluation was. This gives students the opportunity to learn how to give feedback in the real-world and tells them first-hand how their feedback is being perceived by their peers. This process facilitates students to develop the necessary skills of an effective evaluator, which they can then apply to their future careers. 

Communication skills

Communication skills are essential in today’s workplace. The effectiveness of communication skills can be found in several different disciplines, careers, and industries. In a article written by Dr. Ankita Goutam outlining communication in the workplace states that, “people who communicate effectively know how to interact with others flexibly, skillfully, and responsibly, but without sacrificing their own needs and integrity” (Goutam A., 2013). This proves that building relationships with others through effective communication benefits both communicators making it an essential skill in the workplace.  With peer assessment, not only is your own written communication skills on display, but you also have the opportunity to directly converse with your classmates in a unique way.  When applying written communication to others’ work, you are analyzing the information in front of you and then critically thinking about how your peers can apply it to their work. This allows students to create a sense of connection to their peers as they provide their input. At Kritik, students are able to provide their written evaluations to their peer's work while also providing an extra layer of feedback in the feedback stage. This approach gives students the opportunity to refine their own communication skills. 

Conclusion

As student’s make their way through their higher educational careers, an instructor’s ability to implement transferable skills equips students for their careers. The ability to possess critical thinking, honesty, feedback, and communication skills are all skills that can be practiced to ensure successful progression in the workplace and personal relationships. With Kritik, instructors are able to teach course content while simultaneously exposing students to the ability to practice important career skills.

Cleary M., Walter G., Horsfall J., Jackson D. (2013). Promoting integrity in the workplace: A priority for all academic health professionals, Contemporary Nurse, 45:2, 264-268, DOI: 10.5172/conu.2013.45.2.264

Goutam A. (2013). Effective Communication at Workplace. IRC’S INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MULTIDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH IN SOCIAL & MANAGEMENT SCIENCES, Vol: 1, Issue: 2. http://www.ircjournals.org/

Ideas and Strategies for Peer Assessments. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://isit.arts.ubc.ca/ideas-and-strategies-for-peer-assessments/

Li L., Grion V. (2019). The Power of Giving Feedback and Receiving Feedback in Peer Assessment. PKP Publishing Services, Vol. 11 No. 2. https://ojs.aishe.org/index.php/aishe-j/article/view/413 

What is Critical Thinking? (n.d.). Retrieved from https://louisville.edu/ideastoaction/about/criticalthinking/what

Wilkie, D. (2020, February 28). Employers Say Students Aren't Learning Soft Skills in College. Retrieved from https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/employee-relations/pages/employers-say-students-arent-learning-soft-skills-in-college.aspx

Emily Masters
Education Researcher

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