Evolving Perspectives on Self- and Peer- Assessments

31 03 2010

In her post Skype…Another Side, Allysa Johnson refers to an enlightening conversation with grade 9 and 10 students in British Columbia through Skype, in which one student stated that “The only thing worse than a self evaluation is a peer evaluation”.  That comment inspired Johnson in one way, but it inspired me in another.  I started thinking about my long journey through what sometimes seems like the minefield of self- and peer- assessment.  Self- and peer- reflections are not easy.  I used to detest them because, well, because they are harder than just being given a mark on the product and object of assessment and being done with it.  In my comment below, I explain why I hope the student sticks with self- and peer- evaluations in some way.  What do you think?

Here is my response to Johnson’s post:

That’s an interesting comment about self- and peer- assessment… I know sometimes I have felt like I dislike self-assessments, because I am darn sick and tired of reflecting, reflecting, reflecting. However, I think I finally get it! Self-reflecting, if you can take the time and really get down to it, is probably the thing that has helped me develop the most professionally.
Like I said I always dreaded doing self-assessments growing up. I think there is a pressure to be honest, yet at the same time there are so many stigmas around assessment that it is hard to be. There is pressure to get good marks, yet there is also pressure not to take too much pride in your work, a funny stigma we seem to have all around us here.
Peer assessments were also hard, because there was always the question of whether or not they were honest. Now in University I love the chance to get feedback from my peers when I do a presentation, or to have a safe method to give feedback to others.
Recently, I did a group presentation which presented a lot of struggles for myself and my group members. When we realized we were not going to have the chance to do a group reflection or peer assessment, we felt like the process of the struggles we met as a group as we worked on the presentation for months were seen as totally useless, in favor of focusing just on the product.
As a teacher I think it is extremely important to listen to the students and what they want and like and feel comfortable with. However, if my teachers had listened to me about self- and peer- assessments all the way through, I would be without the great reflective, critical skills I now possess. Those two assessments I think really offer the opportunity to focus on the process of learning. I can’t help but say that I hope the student who made that comment will warm up to them some day!

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5 responses

4 04 2010
Morgan Bayda

[…] Skype…Another Side by Allysa • Alyssa’s post inspired me to write about my evolving perspectives on self- and peer- assessment A New Take on Technology by Annick • Annick’s post about how technology is changing how […]

1 04 2010
Adam Brining

HI, I am in Dr. Strange’s EDM 310 class, and will be commenting on your blog for the next few weeks. You can check out my class blog at http://briningadamedm310.blogspot.com/, or the EDM blog at http://edm310.blogspot.com/.

I think I prefer your take on reflections. I especially like what you said about teachers having to take what the students say in their reflections, but we do have to know where to draw the line. We can’t treat the students like their opinions don’t matter, but at the same time we can’t have them running the classroom. That is something interesting to think about.

4 04 2010
mbayda

Thanks for your comment Adam, I’ll certainly check out your blog.

1 04 2010
John Strange

I did a post several weeks ago titled Honest Reflection is Required – A New Assignment . A few students left comments on the post above, but most left comments (comments were required) on this duplicate post: Honest Reflection is Required.

I did not reply to each post as you so bravely did on the post of yours that I assigned my class. Bt I am preparing my response and will post it soon, probably Monday 4/5/10. I will let you know when I do. I would greatly appreciate your comments. We may disagree a bit and that would help me understand better the culture of the current college generation. And then we might not disagree. In any event, I would appreciate having your feedback. I’ll let you know when my response is ready.

4 04 2010
mbayda

Thanks John I’ll look forward to it and take a look.

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