'Unfair and Risky?' Peer assessment using student-generated rubrics

Joy Wallace (Presenter), Ruth Bacchus (Presenter)

Research output: Other contribution to conferencePresentation onlypeer-review


The presentation explored the implementation of two strategies – student co-construction of rubrics and peer assessment based on those rubrics – that may enhance both the clarity of assessment tasks and student engagement with assessment. The strategies were implemented on two occasions, the first in 2018 and the second in 2020.

In 2018, the students’ responses to the construction of the rubric were mixed, with some quite positive (see Bacchus, Colvin, Knight and Ritter 2020). However, for many students, the experience of constructing and using the rubric to plan their assignment (an oral presentation) was marred by the element of peer assessment. This seemed to warrant further investigation, especially of the way the students’ experience of peer assessment could be improved.

At the beginning of 2020, Joy Wallace and I decided to make several changes. We included more explicit discussion of the rubric, both while it was co-constructed in class and throughout the session. We made the feedback online so it would be more anonymous. Perhaps most importantly, we awarded a small percentage of the students’ total marks for the quality of the feedback they provided on their peers’ presentations. Early in 2020, COVID-19 brought some unintended changes: where the 2018 class had been on-campus, the 2020 class went online after the first two weeks; where the 2018 results were collected in a focus group, the 2020 results were collected online. In addition, the student cohorts differed in size, degree of cohesion, and perhaps in terms of individual personalities.

Both the intended and unintended changes mean there can be neither an exact correspondence nor an exact comparison between the iterations of the strategies; however, they seem to yield interesting contrasts and suggestions for future practice.


ConferenceCharles Sturt Edx 2021
Abbreviated titleConnecting in a disrupted world
OtherOur learning and teaching conference this year is happening online from 17-19 November. The event will run from 9:30am to 1:00pm each day and will also incorporate some on campus activity on day two providing additional ways for people to connect. We invite you to reflect on, share ideas, experiences and practice of how we connect in a continually disrupted world aligned to four streams:

Future focussed
Innovation and quality
No limits
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