Peer assessment is a common method of evaluation used in the classroom, workplace, and research. Since it is carried out by individuals who have similar competencies, it is one of the best ways to gather first-hand feedback that highlights the strengths and weaknesses of an individual.

During peer assessment, you are expected to measure your peer’s performance using the criteria provided by a higher authority (teacher, management team, or industry standards). The peer assessment guidelines allow everyone to be held up to the same standards; thus limiting prejudice. 

In this article, we will discuss different types of peer assessment, peer assessment tools, and show you how to carry out peer assessment in your industry. 

What is Peer Assessment?

Peer assessment is a type of performance evaluation that is done by individuals who are of equal status as the person who is being assessed. During this process, peers can reflect on each other’s works, identify strengths, and also highlight areas needing improvement. 

At one point or the other, you may have been a part of a peer assessment exercise. Think of instances where your lecturer asked you to comment on someone’s stance on a particular issue or when the HR called you in for a brief meeting to discuss what you think about a team member. 

Whether peer assessment is formative or summative, it is best to provide guidelines for the evaluation. This way, everyone is on the same page and you can gather precise, concise, and direct feedback that will prove useful for decision-making in the future. 

Importance of Peer Assessment 

Peer assessment is a good way for individuals to get familiar with constructive criticism. Many times, we find it easier to deal with feedback and criticism when it comes from someone or people we are familiar with. There is certainly some degree of anxiety that comes with receiving feedback from higher authorities. 

Let’s discuss some other reasons why peer assessment is important:

  1. Due to the familiarity that exists between peers, they can provide meaningful insights into each other’s behaviors, competencies, and experiences.
  2. Peer assessment improves the skills and output of the evaluator. Assessing the performance of others improves your cognitive abilities as well as equips you with other life skills.
  3. It helps you develop critical thinking and assessment skills.
  4. When peer assessment is done in the right way, it can improve team bonding. 
  5. It is more efficient and effective when you need to review a large number of people.
  6. Peer assessment promotes deep learning; especially in research. 

Types of Peer Assessment

Student Peer Assessment

Student peer assessment is a type of peer review that allows students to provide objective feedback on each other’s performance in the classroom, with the teacher’s guidance. It starts with the teacher providing different criteria for the evaluation and then, the students critique each other in line with the criteria.

In a typical classroom setting, students’ dissatisfaction with a teacher’s grading style is not uncommon, and this is because they are quite removed from the evaluation process. However, when you get them involved via peer assessment, they become more open to evaluation and can see the justification for their grades. 

Peer assessment is more than a method of classroom evaluation; it is also a critical teaching method that helps students build life-long skills. During peer evaluation, students learn how to be teachers, how to sift through information and identify valid data, and how to provide constructive feedback on performance. 

Pros

  • By getting the students involved in the assessment process, the teacher can improve their cognitive skills and understanding of the course. 
  • It serves as a bridge between the teaching and learning process.
  • It helps knowledge exchange and knowledge diffusion in the classroom. 

Cons

  • It can lead to subjective criticism due to hate or jealousy between students. 
  • Due to a lack of experience in assessment and evaluation, the feedback provided by students during peer assessment cannot be relied on. 
  • Peer assessment can negatively affect the relationship between students; especially when negative feedback is given. 

Employee Peer Assessment

Employee peer assessment is a workplace review method where colleagues with complementary roles assess each other’s performances and provide feedback. It is a great way to build team spirit in the workplace while gathering objective information that can improve productivity. 

Employee peer assessment varies and it is best to come up with a method that works for your team and ensure that everyone gets familiar with the stipulated guidelines. Usually, employee peer assessment should be conducted anonymously; although some organizations do otherwise.  

employee-peer-assessment

Pros

  1. Employee peer assessment provides useful performance insights about the employee being reviewed. These performance insights result from the proximity in the relationship between the reviewer and the employee being reviewed.
  2. It allows you to monitor and improve employee performance. This often has a positive outlook on your organization’s output and productivity.
  3. Employee peer assessment is an easy way to monitor organizational processes. 
  4. It is an important ingredient for team building in the workplace. 

Cons

  1. Subjective feedback due to the familiarity that exists between the reviewer and the employee being assessed.
  2. The validity of the feedback can be affected by bias; especially when there is a strained relationship between the reviewer and the employee. 

Peer Journal/Article Assessment

Peer journal/article assessment is a form of self-regulation adopted in many fields of study. Here, an academic paper is vetted by scholars who have similar competencies as the author, before it is eventually published to ensure that it meets the stipulated standards. 

Academic scholars are the gate-keepers of knowledge in their fields and the general public depends on the information they provide; especially through published works. Peer journal assessment certifies the validity of the data contained in these published works and this prevents false information from being regarded as credible. 

Every field of study draws up a set of parameters that academic works must satisfy before they can be published. During a peer journal assessment, the reviewer weighs the academic work against these parameters and determines the extent to which it satisfies the publication requirements. 

Pros

  1. Peer journal assessment creates and maintains a standard for academic publications. This allows for only valid information to be communicated via published works.
  2. It provides useful feedback on the quality of the research paper before it is published. 
  3. It is an important process for data validation in research. 

Cons

  1. Peer journal assessment can be time-consuming. Sometimes, the information in the research paper may already be outdated before it is cleared for publication.
  2. It can be expensive to carry out academic peer assessment.
  3. It can be affected by bias; especially in a toxic academic environment. 

Tips for Conducting a Good Peer Assessment 

Peer assessment can expose you to information that you previously had no idea about. However, getting the best results from peer assessment is no mean feat; you need to put in the work to collect valid information. Let’s look at some tips that can help you conduct stellar peer assessments for the best results.

  1. Create a well-defined peer assessment guideline that highlights your assessment criteria. This allows for a standardized assessment process.
  2. Allocate enough time for the assessment and communicate this to all the parties involved. If you’re using an online form for your peer assessment, you can share the form with the reviewer well ahead of time.
  3. For the best results, peer assessment must be done anonymously. Do not inform the employee of the person(s) who would be carrying out his or her assessment.
  4. Ensure that all the parties involved get familiar with the assessment parameters. This keeps the process transparent and impartial. 
  5. Your peer assessment process should encourage honest feedback. If you're using a survey for the assessment, avoid bad survey questions like leading and loaded questions that can communicate huge biases in your review process. 

How to Conduct Peer Assessment

As we've said earlier, there is no one-size-fits-all method for peer assessment. The different types of peer assessment are conducted in not-so similar ways. Regardless of the peer assessment process, what matters is that you achieve the primary goal of the evaluation. 

For this article, we will show you how to conduct peer journal assessment via this step-by-step guide. Remember that you would need to tweak these steps if you're conducting any other type of peer assessment.

  1. The first thing you need to do is ensure you have the right expertise on the subject matter to be assessed. This means that you must have well-above knowledge of the research subject.
  2. Get familiar with the peer journal review guidelines in your field of study. If you have a regulatory board in your field of study, their website may be a good place to get this information.
  3. Next, get familiar with the research paper you would be assessing. Glance through the paper and take down notes of important areas.
  4. Critically study the research paper. This can take between a few hours to a few days depending on the volume of the material. During this time, identify any grey areas in the research paper.
  5. Using the assessment criteria, highlight important areas you would be providing feedback on in the research paper. This includes methodology, research purposes, data analysis, and the like.
  6. Outline the strengths and weaknesses of the paper.
  7. Outline your recommendations. 

How to Conduct Peer Assessment with Formplus Online Form Builder

Formplus is an interactive online tool that you can use to create forms and surveys for peer assessment. It is one of the most effective tools for peer assessment because it has multiple options and features that allow you to conduct your peer assessment easily. 

Formplus has many free peer assessment templates that you can use to carry out this exercise. It also has a drag-and-drop form builder where you can make changes to your preferred template by adding new form fields and including background images plus your company logo. 

Here is an easy guide to creating peer assessment forms using Formplus: 

  • Create and sign into your Formplus account.
  • Click on the "create new form" button to access the form builder.
  • In the form builder, add different fields to your form by dragging them from the fields section into your form. You can edit each field after adding it to your form by clicking on the "pencil" icon beside each field.

peer-assessment-form

  • Save your peer evaluation form draft to immediately gain access to the form customization section. Use the available options to tweak the appearance of your form.

peer-assessment-survey

  • Copy the link and share it with the respondents. 

  • Online Assessment Application

Several online tools make it easy for you to coordinate peer assessment; whether in the school or at the workplace. Online assessment application systems allow the reviewer to automatically provide actionable feedback on his or her peer and it is extremely useful for student peer assessment. 

  • Interview

Peer assessment can also be done using this method of qualitative data collection; especially student peer assessment and employee peer assessment. During an interview, the reviewer asks a series of questions to the person who is being assessed. These responses allow the reviewer to provide feedback on the candidate's performance. 

An interview can be structured, semi-structured, or unstructured depending on the preferences of the stakeholders (the reviewer and the employee). While a structured interview adheres strictly to the provided questions, the unstructured interview happens spontaneously. Semi-structured interviews are a neat blend of structured and unstructured interviews. 

  • Paired Marking

Paired marking is not a tool; rather, it is a peer assessment technique that is typically used in the classroom where a teacher places students in pairs and asks them to interchange and assess work. Paired marking, and by extension group marking, can be done using a rubric, or by applying success criteria to each other’s work. 

Peer Assessment Form Templates 

The Formplus employee review form template allows colleagues in the workplace to review one another's skills and competencies while providing feedback on their strengths and weaknesses. In this form, the reviewer grades his or her peer using the criteria listed in the template. 

This is a general peer assessment form that you can use to evaluate performance whether in the school, workplace or during research paper review. With this peer evaluation form, you are better able to gather and process information to arrive at valid outcomes for your organization, school, or field of study. 

Use this employee evaluation form to keep track of employees' workplace performance. This form allows you to monitor an employee's output plus the relationship between the employee and his or her co-workers. With this form, employees can provide feedback on the performance of their co-workers regularly.  

Peer Assessment Question Examples

Student

  1. Did the student adhere to the instructions giving in the workbook?
  2. How did the student present her work?
  3. How well did the student communicate his or her ideas?
  4. Is the content of the work relevant?
  5. How would you rate the structure of the work?

Employee

  1. How would you describe this employee?
  2. To what extent does the employee contribute to team tasks?
  3. How does the employee approach challenges in the workplace?
  4. How well does the employee interact with co-workers?
  5. To what extent does this person embody our company values?

Peer Journal

  1. Does the research paper satisfy the structural requirements for publication?
  2. Is the research paper relevant?
  3. Does the researcher include enough data to support his or her ideas?
  4. Does the content relate to the title and/or purpose of the systematic investigation?
  5. Is the flow of ideas in the work well-paced?

Conclusion 

Getting the best results from peer assessment starts with having well-structured evaluation parameters and making sure that everyone involved in the assessment understands how they work. Whether in school, workplaces, or academic environment, you can organize peer assessment training sessions to keep everyone updated on the evaluation criteria. 

More importantly, you should limit bias in peer assessment by making all reviews anonymous. Finally, choose the right peer assessment tool that can help you gather and process the data you need without any stress. You can use Formplus to create powerful forms for peer assessment. 



  • Formplus Blog
  • on 11 min read

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