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Module Five: Promoting Peer and Self Assessment in Students and Self Learning
 
Assessment is an essential component of the instructional processes experienced by learners during a course. Clearly defined assessments help establish guidelines for students to follow in order to master the course learning objectives. Assessment encourages students to examine the criteria by which they are being evaluated and to seek a deeper understanding of the relationship between the evaluated product, their learning processes, and the evaluative criteria. Assessment can encourage students to become autonomous learners as they take control of their level of success as it relates to specific learning outcomes. Assessment promotes life-long learning by encouraging students to invest in both the product and processes of learning.
 
Effective assessment begins with appropriate constructive alignment to the intended learning outcomes. Phil Race (2001) developed a visual tool for examining the relationship between assessment, teaching, learning, and feedback. (see Figure 1)
Assessment can be applied in a variety of situations; self, peer, and group evaluations. Phil Race (2001) clarifies the differences in the three applications:
  • Self-assessment: students make judgments on their own work.
  • Peer assessment: students make assessment decisions on other students’ work and can involve one or more of the peers in the process.
  • Group assessment: students are collaboratively involved in the assessment. The assessment can be applied with many variations. Groups can internally evaluate their    process and product or evaluate the work of another group. Group assessment can include a combination of instructor, self and peer assessment techniques.
Self-Assessment
Self-assessment allows students to take a critical look at their work prior to final submission. Providing students with a structured rubric for self-assessment that clearly identifies the measurable objectives of the assignment or activity will guide the students as they examine their work to determine if the objectives have been sufficiently met. Often this process affords the students an opportunity to correct problems or misinterpretations related to the finished product. Research indicates that self-assessment promotes learning, provides experience in evaluative processes, increases awareness of knowledge and skill development, and motivates students to reach maximum performance levels.
Peer Assessment
Peer assessment can be reciprocal in that as students examines the work of a peer they reflect on their own work in comparison. Using peer-assessment can offer the instructor another set of eyes during evaluation of student work. Just as with self-assessment, providing structured rubrics to guide the assessment will ensure that the evaluations remain objective and equal in application. In some situations peer assessment can create a sense of vulnerability for the students because now their work is being viewed by individuals they may know socially. Examination by peers can motivate students to reach for higher levels of achievement. 
Group Assessment
Group assessment offers many of the same valuable aspects as found in self and peer assessments but it also promotes responsibility and accountability. Students are in a position to examine their work, the work of their group members and the individual contributions as they relate to the successful outcomes of the group. In group assessment individual process and product is examined proportionately and relatively across the group, adding another level to the assessment.  
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