How do you create a Criteria Grid relevant to peer review?

Peer assessment has become an essential pedagogical tool in the world of education and vocational training. However, the success of this method depends largely on the quality of the criteria used to judge participants' work.
So how do you create an effective criteria grid that promotes meaningful learning while being fair and equitable? If you're wondering, you've come to the right place!
From the importance of choosing the right criteria to practical tips for implementing them, we'll cover all the essential aspects to make your peer review a rewarding experience for all.

Reminder: what is peer review?

Peer assessment is a method of evaluation in which participants assess the work or skills of their peers, rather than receiving assessment solely from a teacher or expert.
This approach is widespread in educational environments ranging from elementary school to corporate vocational training. It offers an enriching alternative to traditional assessment methods, and contributes to more collaborative and interactive learning.

In the educational context, peer assessment takes on particular importance. Not only does it reduce the workload for teachers, it also promotes deeper learning among students. When students evaluate the work of their peers, they develop essential critical thinking and analytical skills. What's more, receiving feedback from a variety of sources allows for better assimilation and a broader perspective on their own work.

Peer evaluation is not only beneficial for students, but also for teachers. It gives them a better understanding of how students perceive and evaluate work in progress, which can be extremely useful for adjusting teaching methods.
The central element of any successful peer assessment is the criteria grid used for evaluation. Criteria define what is expected of students and how their performance will be judged. They contribute to the clarity, accuracy and effectiveness of the assessment. 

The different types of criteria

For a successful peer review, it is crucial to select relevant criteria that will effectively guide the evaluation process. 
Here are some commonly used criteria and their respective advantages:

Quantitative criteria

These are measurable criteria, often expressed in numbers or percentages. For example, the number of sources used in an article, the response time to a question, etc. These criteria are useful for objective evaluations where numerical data is important.

Qualitative criteria

These criteria assess more subjective aspects such as the quality of the argument, the clarity of the presentation or the originality of the work. They require a certain expertise on the part of the assessors, but offer considerable added value in terms of skills development.

Performance Criteria

Often used to assess oral presentations or practical skills, these criteria are based on the way a task is performed. They may include elements such as fluency of speech, coherence of ideas, or effectiveness of demonstration.

Behavioral criteria

Particularly relevant to group work, these criteria assess aspects such as each member's contribution to the collective effort, adherence to deadlines, and communication within the team.

Competency-based criteria

In some cases, the main aim of peer assessment may be to measure the level of competence acquired in a particular field. These criteria are particularly useful in vocational or technical training courses where specific skills are required.
These criteria can be broken down into :
  1. Technical Skills: Evaluate skills specific to the field of study, such as mastery of a programming language in computer science, precision in experimentation in the sciences, or quality of research in the social sciences.
  2. Transversal skills: Assess skills that are useful in several areas, such as teamwork, communication and leadership.
  3. Cognitive Skills: Assess skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking and analysis.
  4. Emotional and Social Competencies: Evaluate the ability to manage emotions, establish positive relationships with others and be self-aware.
Each type of criterion has its advantages and disadvantages, and the choice largely depends on the context and pedagogical objectives. In the next chapter, we'll look at how to create an evaluation grid that effectively combines these different types of criteria.

Building your criteria grid

A good set of assessment criteria must not only be measurable and aligned with learning objectives, it must also be balanced to provide a comprehensive assessment. This is particularly important in education, where each student is a unique blend of skills, talents and challenges.
  • Balance between technical and cross-disciplinary skills:

Make sure you don't just focus on purely academic skills. Peer evaluation offers an excellent opportunity to assess cross-cutting skills such as teamwork, communication and a sense of responsibility.

  • Balance between quantity and quality:

Although quantitative criteria are easier to measure, they don't always provide a complete picture. Qualitative criteria can bring important nuances to the assessment.


Detailed Criteria with Tangible Elements

It is essential that each criterion is sufficiently detailed to enable an objective assessment. One way of achieving this is to break down each criterion into tangible elements. This can be done by using a graduated scale that clearly defines what each score on the scale means.
Example of a 4-level scale for a score out of 10 :
  1. Critical Analysis (out of 10 points):
    • Level 1 (1-3 points): The analysis lacks depth and shows no clear understanding of the subject.
    • Level 2 (4-6 points): The analysis is basic but covers the essential aspects of the subject.
    • Level 3 (7-9 points): The analysis is complete, with good understanding and relevant examples.
    • Level 4 (10 points): The analysis is exceptional, showing deep understanding and unique insights.
  2. Feedback quality (out of 10 points):
    • Level 1 (1-3 points): Feedback is generic and does not provide practical advice for improvement.
    • Level 2 (4-6 points): Feedback is specific to certain aspects but lacks depth.
    • Level 3 (7-9 points): Feedback is detailed, constructive and focused on skills development.
    • Level 4 (10 points): Feedback is exceptionally detailed, offering unique insights and targeted suggestions for improvement.
By using scales like these, you enable evaluators to give more precise scores and provide a clear context for their assessment. This eliminates ambiguity and helps make the assessment as objective as possible.


Importance of Constructive Feedback

An often overlooked but crucial aspect of the peer assessment process is feedback. You may need to educate your students on how to provide constructive feedback that goes beyond numbers and grades. This type of feedback can help the student being evaluated to understand his or her strengths and weaknesses in a more nuanced way.

Practical considerations

  1. Number of criteria: Too many criteria can make evaluation tedious and discourage students. Find a happy medium.
  2. Clarity of instructions: Make sure each criterion is clearly defined to avoid misunderstandings.
  3. Avoiding confirmation bias: Educate evaluators to be aware of biases that could influence their assessment.
By balancing assessment criteria correctly, you can ensure a more comprehensive and rewarding assessment experience for all participants. This not only helps to more accurately measure students' skills and achievements, but also provides an environment where students can learn and grow through the assessment process itself.

Examples of Criteria Grids

To help you create your evaluation grid, here are a few examples of criteria for different types of activity.

Research report
  • Research quality
  • Clear writing
  • Originality of approach

Scale for "Quality of research":

    • Level 1 (0-2.5): Superficial research, unreliable sources
    • Level 2 (3-5): Basic research, a few reliable sources
    • Level 3 (6-8): In-depth research, multiple reliable sources
    • Level 4 (8.5-10): exhaustive research, excellent integration of sources
  1.  Oral presentation
  • Content quality
  • Communication skills
  • Audience interaction

Scale for "Communication skills":

    • Level 1 (0-2.5): Frequent hesitations, unclear
    • Level 2 (3-5): Some hesitation, but generally understandable
    • Level 3 (6-8): Good articulation, good use of language
    • Level 4 (8.5-10): Impeccable elocution, expert use of language

Access to Our Criteria Base

Need more inspiration? We have created a criteria database in collaboration with several schools for various educational activities. To access this database, simply leave your email address by clicking on the link below.
Using these examples and our criteria database, you can quickly and efficiently create a criteria grid tailored to your teaching needs.

Tools & Resources

The creation of a criteria grid can be facilitated by the use of adapted tools and resources. Here are a few suggestions to help you get started.

Online tools

  1. ChallengeMe: Our platform offers you an intuitive interface for creating, managing and evaluating peer-based activities. You can even access a collaborative criteria database, as mentioned in the previous chapter.
  2. Google Forms: A simple but effective tool for creating criteria grids that you can share online with your students.
  3. Excel / Google Sheets: For spreadsheet enthusiasts, these tools give you great flexibility in designing your grids.

Bonus: Our Online Training

We also offer an online training course specifically dedicated to peer review, where you can delve deeper into the subject. Find out more here.
With the right tools and resources at your disposal, creating an effective criteria grid becomes child's play!
Now you're armed with the knowledge and tools you need to create a thoughtful and effective peer assessment criteria grid. By integrating these elements into your pedagogy, you not only facilitate the evaluation process; you also create a richer, more interactive learning environment for your students.

Peer assessment is not just an evaluation tool; it's a pedagogical strategy that fosters collaboration, the development of soft skills and student engagement. The benefits are numerous, for teachers and students alike.

Remember that perfection comes with practice. So it's only natural to readjust your criteria and methods as you gain more experience.
We hope you've found this guide useful, and wish you every success in your teaching and future peer reviews!
For more information, advice, or to share your own experiences, don't hesitate to join us on our social networks or check out our regularly updated blog.
Thank you for trusting us to guide you on this educational adventure.
See you soon on ChallengeMe!