The author describes a method for peer evaluation of class participation that he has developed and refined over a couple of decades. It would be useful in any collaborative classroom environment. The underlying concept is that because students learn a lot from other students and they do so in diverse ways, they are in the best position to evaluate the contributions of their peers to their learning. This evaluation generally accounts for between 25% and 40% of the course grade.
Type of Material:
Workshop handout, training material.Individual or team reading.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
This memo describes a mechanism for evaluating class participation in courses where it matters, refined and developed over a couple of decades but surely not perfected.Use as a training, consult document. Tweak for use in any collaborative course.
Target Student Population:
Faculty, TAs, Adjunct Faculty, Future Faculty
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
The article includes a) details of the process, including an attached spreadsheet students use for evaluation; b) verbal strategies for explaining the concept to students, ways of dealing with student reluctance, and an attached listing of annotated peer evaluation criteria; and c) a discussion of the positive outcomes.Performance Evaluation Criteria for Discussion-based Courses
The material requires theoretical support.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The section on Ancillary Practices is particularly strong in that it directly addresses student lack of familiarity with and reluctance to evaluating class participation. To justify the method, the author draws parallels between his method and peer evaluation in the professional world. The method and implementation is carefully explained. The evaluations that students do are anonymous, which protects egos.
Of the three times that students complete the peer evaluations, after the first two, the author returns a spreadsheet of student names listed in the percentile (out of three or four) in which they scored. No scores are posted, however. In this way, students get feedback on their performance. The author, in turn, provides suggestions for researching how to improve. This continuous feedback cycle can improve learning and encourages metacognitive practice.
The background should be expanded and sustained.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The article is well formatted and having the attached spreadsheet and evaluation criteria is a big plus.The material is a text with two appendices. There is no difficulty in using it.
The instructions for use of the spreadsheet found in the article were not as clear as they could be. Reading the instruction at the very top of the spreadsheet and reviewing the spreadsheet clarifies.
Other Issues and Comments:
To reiterate that the material lacks theoretical foundation and their references.
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