Self-assessment for peer review

What is self-evaluation?

Peer review has many advantages(see our article on the advantages of peer review), but to take full advantage of these, one ideal must be achieved. Its integration into an educational programme comprising several methods that enrich each other. This is called triangulation of methods (Topping, 20031 ; Cho & MacArthur, 20102).

In this article we will explain why self-assessment is the right method to be combined with peer assessment. And develop the pedagogical advantages of this combination of methods for students. Let's start by defining self-assessment. It is an assessment process in which students reflect on their work and evaluate it against given objectives or criteria(see our article on criteria construction) (Andrade, 20073).

Feedback and feedback

In order to understand the added value of the combined use of self- and peer-assessment, we must first look at how feedback (an opinion on a piece of work) enables the student to progress. For the student to progress, he/she needs to question his/her work, to understand its shortcomings, in order to correct and improve. But questioning requires the student to agree with the feedback given. To do this, they compare the feedback from their peers and teachers - external feedback - with their own representation of their work - internal feedback -. If the external feedback is in line with his vision of his work he will question himself, if it is in disagreement the student will revert to a state of assonance by rejecting either the external or the internal feedback (Butler & Winne, 19954).

It is therefore easy to see how important feedback is for the student's progress. This is where self-assessment becomes crucial. Through self-assessment, the student becomes - fully - aware of his or her internal feedback by reflecting on his or her work through an evaluative process. In this way, they can compare themselves with external feedback and thus start the process of self-questioning. Without this internal feedback awareness stage, students receiving external feedback will tend to develop psychological defence mechanisms rejecting the external feedback. (Butler & Winne, 1995 4; Liu & Carless, 20065 ; Reinholz, 20166).

Peer evaluation will therefore be the source of external feedback to be confronted with the internal feedback produced through self-evaluation. Then, several other possibilities can be considered and added to the self-evaluation in order to decrease the possible dissonance between external and internal feedback. This increases the chances of the student's self-questioning - and therefore progress.

The educational benefits of the method

In addition to enabling the student to progress through self-questioning, self-assessment coupled with peer review has other advantages.

A virtuous circle
Self-assessment allows students to reflect on their work and the processes they have put in place to produce it. This metacognition, in turn, enables the student to better understand the expectations of the work and thus to perform better in peer assessment (Wanner & Palmer, 20187). Similarly, peer assessment allows the student to be a better assessor and therefore perform better in self-assessment (Bostock, 20008 ; To & Panadero, 2019). By using both methods regularly one enters a virtuous circle of progress.

Furthermore, within the same activity, if self-assessment and peer assessment share the same criteria grid, then students become familiar with the tool, which strengthens the quality of their assessments (Rust, Price & O'Donovan, 200310 ).

Confidence as an assessor
By preceding peer assessment with self-assessment, students gain confidence as assessors (Rust, Price & O'Donovan, 200310), which addresses a fear students have about their abilities as assessors (Panadero, 20169).
Critical and reflective thinking
Self and peer assessment develop students' critical and reflective thinking skills, thus combining them to create a comprehensive system that allows for optimal development of these skills (Falchikov, 198611 ; Hanrahan & Isaacs, 2001 ; Wanner & Palmer 20187 ). This, in the long run, leads to more sustainable learning for students (Lynch, 201212).

Points to consider

There are a number of issues to consider in applying the method so that students can fully benefit from these advantages.


Understanding the method

If the peer assessment is done in conjunction with the teacher's assessment, then the student will have more sources for rejecting the internal feedback. If they do not match, then it is a sign to the teacher that the students have misunderstood the course or the peer review method.

item 2

Taking a step back

Allow time between the peer assessment and the feedback. This will allow the student to step back from their work and become emotionally disengaged, and they will be more likely to listen to external feedback.

item 3

Organising a meeting

Organising meetings between the student assessor and the student being assessed to discuss their respective views will also help students to accept external feedback.

Bibliography :

1 Topping, K. (2003). Self and peer assessment in school and university: Reliability, validity and utility. In Optimising new modes of assessment: In search of qualities and standards (pp. 55-87). Springer, Dordrecht.

2 Cho, K., and C. MacArthur. 2010. "Student Revision with Peer and Expert Reviewing." Learning and Instruction 20 (4): 328-338. doi:10.1016/j.learninstruc.2009.08.006

3 Andrade, H. & Du, Y. (2007). Student responses to criteria-referenced self-Assessment. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 32 (2), 159- 181

4 Butler, D. L., and P. H. Winne. 1995. "Feedback and Self-Regulated Learning: A Theoretical Synthesis." Review of Educational Research 65 (3): 245-281. doi:10.3102/00346543065003245

5 Liu, N.-F., & Carless, D. (2006). Peer feedback: the learning element of peer assessment. Teaching in Higher Education, 11(3), 279-290. doi:10.1080/13562510600680582 

6 Reinholz, D. 2016. "The Assessment Cycle: A Model for Learning through Peer Assessment." Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education 41 (2): 301-315. doi:10.1080/02602938.2015.1008982.

7 Wanner, T., & Palmer, E. (2018). Formative self-and peer assessment for improved student learning: the crucial factors of design, teacher participation and feedback. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 1-16. doi:10.1080/02602938.2018.1427698

8 Bostock, S. (2000). Student peer assessment. Learning Technology, 5(1), 245-249v

9 Panadero, E. 2016. "Is It Safe? Social, Interpersonal, and Human Effects of Peer Assessment: A Review and Future Directions." In Handbook of Human and Social Conditions in Assessment, edited by B. Gavin and L. Harris, 247-266. New York: Routledge

10 Rust, C., M. Price, and B. O'Donovan. 2003. "Improving Students' Learning by Developing Their Understanding of Assessment Criteria and Processes." Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education 28 (2): 147-164. doi:10.1080/ 02602930301671.

11 Falchikov, N. 1986. "Product Comparisons and Process Benefits of Collaborative Peer and Self-Assessments." Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education 11: 146-166. doi:10.1080/0260293860110206

12 Topping, K. (2003). Self and peer assessment in school and university: Reliability, validity and utility. In Optimising new modes of assessment: In search of qualities and standards (pp. 55-87). Springer, Dordrecht.