Student Peer Assessment: Best Practices and Practical Ideas for Implementation

Event Date & Time

  • June 28, 2017
    1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Event Description

This session offers a smörgåsbord of student peer assessment strategies from instructors who have used these approaches in their teaching. Come learn best practices and implementation strategies from actual case studies from across campus!

Student Peer Assessment

Student peer assessment is a reciprocal process whereby students provide feedback on the work of peers and receive feedback from peers on their own work. It has several benefits which include providing learners with a greater variety and quantity of feedback, offering feedback that may be easier to understand than that offered by instructors, and sensitizing students to different readers’ perspectives (Nicol, Thomson & Breslin, 2013).  In addition, student peer assessment may be a useful strategy for instructors who wish to incorporate more learner-centered teaching practices while having to balance larger class sizes and increasing demands on their time.  Research has shown that the process of student peer assessment can have a positive effect on learning (Hamer, Purchase, Luxton-Reilly & Denny, 2014).  

Session Format

This session will begin with a “lightning talk” by each presenter during which time they will give a high-level overview of the student peer assessment approach used. Participants will then select the approach they want to hear more about and will join a round-table with the featured presenter. After a set amount of time, the cycle will repeat. Each participant will have the opportunity to learn from at least 2 presenters. The session will wrap up with key take-aways for implementing student peer assessment in your teaching.

Session Learning Outcomes

By the end of the session, participants should be able to:

  • list at least three benefits of using student peer feedback from the perspective of learners and instructors.
  • briefly describe at least two different approaches for conducting student peer feedback in teaching.
  • decide on next steps for incorporating student peer feedback in their own teaching.

Initiatives Featured at the Session:

Peer Feedback of Oral Proficiency Interview    

In the past decades, peer feedback has been increasingly used in foreign language writing contexts as it deepens students’ understanding of an assignment, and increases autonomy in their learning processes. Despite the benefits of peer feedback, this approach has seldom been used for improving speaking proficiency. In a Japanese language course, students provided peer feedback on each other’s job interview performance prior to the interview test with a teacher. Students found that the formative peer feedback session helped them prepare for the test with a teacher. The teacher also reflected that students did much better in the test than previous years’ students. In this session, we will report students’ attitudes towards peer feedback, and the differences between feedback done by peers and teacher.

Presenters: Misuzu Kazama (Lecturer, Department of Asian Studies) & Bosung Kim, Educational Consultant, Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology.

Student Perceptions of Peer Assessment    

In this session I will discuss student perceptions of the use of peer assessment based on surveys conducted in three Sociology courses.  Peer assessment was used as a formative process (review of video presentations and paper outlines), summative process (review of video presentations and debates) as well as an accountability mechanism for team work (team member review).  Peer reviews were conducted individually both during class and outside of class.  (An attempt to do group reviews was not supported by the technology used (Canvas)).  Pros and cons of the use of peer review, from the students’ perspective will be discussed.

Presenter: Silvia Bartolic (Instructor, Department of Sociology)

Promoting Student Engagement through Online Peer Review

Student engagement is central to a positive undergraduate educational experience. Peer review – that is, students giving formative feedback on each other’s work prior to submission – has been found to foster engagement, as has the use of new technologies. In this session, I will describe how I have incorporated open online peer review in three of my undergraduate writing courses, using two UBC-home-grown online platforms: STUDIORUM and Collaborative Learning Annotation System (CLAS).

Presenter: Kate Power (Instructor, Arts Studies in Research and Writing)

Learning Through Comparisons: The ComPAIR Project at UBC

We will discuss ComPAIR, an innovative peer feedback and teaching technology developed at UBC. ComPAIR’s design makes use of students’ inherent ability and desire to compare: according to the psychological principle of comparative judgement, novices are much better at choosing the “better” of two answers than they are at giving those answers an absolute score. By scaffolding peer feedback through comparisons, ComPAIR provides an engaging, simple, and safe environment that supports two distinct outcomes: 1) students learn how to assess their own work and that of others in a way that 2) facilitates the learning of subtle aspects of course content through the act of comparing.

Presenter: Dr. James Charbonneau (Instructor and Associate Director, Science One and CSP, Department of Physics & Astronomy)

Update: Dr. Charbonneau will not be able to present but has a handout available for participants.

Online Training Workshop for Peer Assessment

Peer assessment requires that students be familiar with the grading rubric and how to effectively apply it to the work of their peers. In this session, I will describe an online training workshop designed to improve the quality of peer assessments and student “buy-in” with the process of peer assessment and data from implementation of the first iteration of the workshop. I will also describe efforts currently underway to make the online training workshop more accessible to instructors and students.

Course: Psychology 101 and 102

Total number of students: 1200-1400 (across 4 sections)

Presenter: Janel Fergusson (PhD Candidate, Psychology on behalf of Dr. Graff and Dr. Rawn)

Using Peer Review to Bridge Classroom Science with Scholarly Scientific Research

 Peer review is a cornerstone of academic research. Yet it is seldom incorporated into undergraduate science education (Liu, Pysarchik, & Taylor, 2002, Glaser, 2014). In this presentation, we will discuss how we have incorporated peer review in the First-year Seminar in Science (SCIE 113), a large multi-section course, to help students both improve their written argumentation and learn about the role peer review plays in scholarly scientific research. We will share results from our research investigating student perceptions of peer review in this course. In particular, we will compare students’ perceptions of the role of peer review in scientific research with its role in their writing.

Course: SCIE 113 First year Seminar in Science

Total number of students reached: 500 annually

Presenters: Alice Campbell, Instructional Designer/Course Coordinator, SCIE 113 and Skylight and Dr. Gunilla Oberg, Director, SCIE 113 and Professor,Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability

Activating Online Social Habits to Cultivate Academic Collegiality

 Artistic practice and creative thinking thrive in a community of collegiality, critique, and peer review.  With the rise of the digital in art making, the social component of the studio artist has been sacrificed in the virtual setting. Visual Arts 110 went through a renewed structure of curriculum delivery by way of a “blended” classroom for skill based learning, which further emphasized the digital environment’s contribution to the act of making.  I wondered, how could virtual engagement also set the scene for cultivating collegiality? In an aim to transform social media habits, the class used ComPAIR to activate online communication tools into a generative focus on the learning benefits that a community can bring to one’s practice.

Course:  Visual Arts 110

Total number of students:  480 (across 3 sections)

Presenter:  Christine D’Onofrio, Instructor in Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory


Venue Website:

1961 E Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada


Please note this room is located through the CTLT offices of the 2nd floor in IKBLC.