What is peer review?
Peer review is the practice of having a student assessed by one or more other students. It can be used in a variety of situations to meet different objectives. For example, it will provide feedback on performance, either on the outcome of the work or on the process of the work (Elliott, 20051). In both cases, peer review has many advantages. We will detail them in this article, which summarises the scientific work on the subject.
The educational benefits of the method
Makes students active in the evaluation process
Students from kindergarten to the end of their higher education are assessed. For them, it is a logical process in which they are passive, as it allows them to validate their achievements or not. With peer assessment, the student becomes active in the process and takes ownership of it (Brindley & Scoffield, 19982). Thus, assessment becomes a formative element and therefore an opportunity to improve on mistakes rather than a sanction showing failure. Furthermore, by judging the work of others, students gain insight into their own performance through that of their peers. This allows them to understand - or better understand - their mistakes (Brown, Rust & Gibbs, 19943 ; Zariski, 19964 ; Race, 19985).
Generate a large amount of feedback
By questioning the question of the student's passivity in the evaluation process, we come back to a central point: the objective of an evaluation. This can be summative, in order to generate a grade, or formative. In either case, it serves to generate feedback on a student's production in order to help him or her progress. However, in the university world, assessment is mainly used for certification purposes, seeking to validate a UE, a diploma. Obviously, the problem is the lack of time of the professors, or the number of students too large. But with peer assessment, the assessment process is transformed into a method that generates a large amount of feedback, and it is known that the use of feedback is the pedagogical method that leads to the most progress in students (Hattie, 19876).
Proves the legitimacy of student assessment
One might therefore question the legitimacy, the ability of students to produce feedback. But in reality, students can produce feedback that is as qualitative and quantitative as that of the experts - the teachers - and, using simpler jargon, closer to the familiar and usual language, their feedback even facilitates understanding (Cho, 20067 ; Cho, 20088 ; Cho, 20109 ). Making students active in the pedagogical process also makes it possible to counteract the 'curse of expertise', i.e. the difficulty that experts may have in making explicit processes and mechanisms that have become trivial and automatic for them (Camerer, 198910 ). Beyond feedback, if students are asked to produce a grade in the evaluation process, it will be strongly correlated to the grade that a teacher would have given. Proving the validity of student-generated assessments (Falchikov, 200011 ; Freeman, 199512 ; Orsmond, 199613).
On the student side, the method is also generally perceived as pedagogically relevant and satisfactory, which increases student engagement in the work required (Elliott, 2005 1; Relatedly & Vickermann, 200915). Finally, peer assessment fits well with strategies of method triangulation - an educational programme comprising several methods that enrich each other(see our article on the contribution of self-assessment to peer assessment). (Topping, 2003 24; Cho & MacArthur, 20109).
Points to consider
There are a number of issues to consider in applying the method so that students can fully benefit from these advantages.
That the assessments are realistic and relate to the knowledge and skills of the students.
Establish clear and explicit evaluation processes for all participants. It is important that the assessment criteria It is important that the assessment criteria are mastered by the students and that they are involved in the process of creating the criteria.
That each student is able to demonstrate their abilities and knowledge. Therefore, they should be trained and prepared for the exercise so that they can all participate in the process with the same knowledge base.
Using the method on a regular basis enhances students' expertise in the peer review exercise.
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2 Brindley, C., and S. Scoffield. 1998. "Peer Assessment in Undergraduate Programmes." Teaching in Higher Education 3 (1): 79-90.
Baartman, L. K. J. (April 24, 2008). Assessing the assessment; development and use of quality criteria for competence assessment programmes. Doctoral dissertation. Utrecht, The Netherlands: University of Utrecht.
5 Race, P. 1995 The Art of Assessing, New Academic, Autumn 1995, 3-5 and Spring 1996, 3-6 and in DeLiberations http://www.lgu.ac.uk/deliberations/assessment/artof_fr.html
6 HATTIE, J.A. (1987) Identifying the salient facets of a model of student learning: a synthesis of meta-analyses, International Journal of Educational Research, vol. 11, pp. 187212.
7 Cho, K., Schunn, C. D., & Wilson, R. (2006). Validity and reliability of scaffolded peer assessment of writing from instructor and student perspectives. Journal of Educational Psychology, 98, 891e901
8 Cho, K., Chung, T. R., King, W. R., & Schunn, C. D. (2008). Peer-based computer-supported knowledge refinement: an empirical investigation. Communications of the ACM, 51(3), 83e88.
9 Cho, K., & MacArthur, C. (2010). Student revision with peer and expert reviewing. Learning and instruction, 20(4), 328-338.
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11 Falchikov, N., & Goldfinch, J. (2000). Student peer assessment in higher education: A meta-analysis comparing peer and teacher marks. Review of educational research, 70(3), 287-322.
12 Freeman, M. (1995). Peer Assessment by Groups of Group Work. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 20(3), 289-300. doi:10.1080/0260293950200305
13 Orsmond, P., Merry, S., & Reiling, K. (1996). The Importance of Marking Criteria in the Use of Peer Assessment. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 21(3), 239-250. doi:10.1080/0260293960210304
14 Double, K. S., McGrane, J. A., & Hopfenbeck, T. N. (2020). The impact of peer assessment on academic performance: A meta-analysis of control group studies.
15 Vickerman, P. (2009). Student perspectives on formative peer assessment: an attempt to deepen learning? Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 34(2), 221-230. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02602930801955986
16 Reinholz, D. 2016. "The Assessment Cycle: A Model for Learning Through Peer Assessment." Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education 41 (2): 301-315.
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21 Kennedy, G. J. (2005, January). Peer-assessment in group projects: is it worth it? In Proceedings of the 7th Australasian conference on Computing education-Volume 42 (pp. 59-65).