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Assessment Series Day 3 – Peer Assessment

Moodle Workshop Activity and Turnitin PeerMark Activity

Welcome to day 3 of this assessment series. Today is all about peer assessment.

Peer assessment

Many of the earliest attempts to develop peer activities concentrated on peer assessment. Experience shows that peer assessment is often more difficult than peer review to implement successfully. This is largely because students lack confidence in their own and their peers’ ability to undertake grading. This undermines their trust in the fairness of the assessment process and their satisfaction with it which can erode learning benefits.

The use of suitable software is essential for effective peer assessment. Specific benefits include:

  • Introducing summative assessment of group learning even with large classes
  • Giving credit to individual students on group projects – those who contribute more earn higher marks
  • Grading of a student’s abilities against key skills such as leadership, communication and report writing
  • Privacy and anonymity of online marking appears to promote fairness
  • Permits automatic final grade calculation and helps to avoid transcription errors from manipulating data in spreadsheets.

Today, we are going to look at a couple of activity tools in Moodle to help you facilitate effective peer assessment.

Why use peer assessment?

It works very well with excellent feedback from students (Sam Yoward)

Producing peer feedback helps students develop critical thinking skills and make evaluative judgements based on the assignment criteria. In giving and receiving feedback, students develop skills that help prepare them for future professional practice and helps them understand the process of making academic judgements.

Both producing and receiving feedback can significantly enhance student learning although qualitatively in different ways. Giving and receiving feedback are significantly different activities. Giving feedback is a very proactive process requiring students to review and think about the assignment criteria, and make comparative judgements.

Receiving peer feedback can be a valuable supplement to tutor feedback and enable students to reflect on things they may not have thought about. Research however shows that students giving feedback generally see the benefits in terms of their own development, even if the work they are reviewing is weak, whereas significant numbers of students receive peer reviews in a more passive fashion and find them unhelpful.

When reviewing the work of others students inevitably make comparisons with the work they have produced themselves and gain an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches.

Peer Assessment & the Assessment Lifecycle

You need to consider peer assessment at many stages of the lifecycle. For it to be most effective, you will consider it at the specifying stage and ensure that you introduce the approach early in a programme of study so that the activities become increasingly demanding as the students develop the necessary skills.

It may be a feature of the supporting stage where purely formative peer review activities take place ahead of introducing an assessment element. Peer assessment forms part of producing marking and feedback – it may generate a considerable volume of useful feedback very easily and, in some cases, peer marks may count towards the mark for a summative assessment.

It’s also an important feature of the reflecting stage as the critical analysis and evaluation produced by these activities is the source of deep learning.

In Moodle there are two activity tools you can use to facilitate peer assessment. The Moodle Workshop and Turnitin PeerMark

Moodle Workshop

The Workshop Activity can seem a bit complicated to set up and manage at the start. After the initial set up of creating the activity, there are five further steps or phases that you and/or your students would work through.

The first phase is the setup phase where you will have to finalise the initial setup settings. The next phase is the submission phase where all students submit their own work. The third phase is the assessment phase, where students are allocated one or a number of submissions which they must asses. Providing clear guidelines on giving effective feedback, using a rubric and giving an example will help students make most use of this activity.

The next phase is called the grading evaluation phase. This is where assessments are evaluated and grades are calculated. (You can get a grade for submission and a grade for the assessment) both grades can be found in the Gradebook.

The final phase is the closed phase, and is when the grades and feedback are released to the student.

For more information see the guides below

Turnitin PeerMark

Turnitin PeerMark is a peer assessment activity that features in a Turnitin activity. As with the Workshop activity in Moodle, you can create and manage PeerMark assignments that allow students to submit, review and assess one or more assignments that have been submitted by their classmates. Reviews can be anonymous.

The basic stages of the peer review process:
  • Tutor creates a Turnitin paper assignment.
  • Tutor creates a PeerMark assignment and sets the number of papers students will be required to review, and creates free response and scale questions for students to respond to while reviewing papers.
  • Student papers are submitted to the Turnitin assignment.
  • On the PeerMark assignment start date, students begin writing peer reviews.
  • For each assigned paper students write reviews by responding to the free response and scale questions.
  • Students receive reviews as other students complete them.
  • Once the PeerMark assignment due date passes no more reviews can be written, completed, or edited by the writer

For more guidance, see the guides below.


How to Create a Moodle Workshop Activity Part 1- The Initial Setup

How to Create a Moodle Workshop Activity Part 2 – The Five Phases of the Workshop activity

Turnitin PeerMark – Setting up Assignments

Turnitin PeerMark – Accessing Reviews

For more information on the Moodle Workshop activity see the Moodle.org guides

For more information on Turnitin PeerMark see the Turnitin help guides

Case Studies

Sam Yoward and Wayne Fiddler discuss how they have used the Moodle Workshop activity for peer assessment See Peer Assessment through the Workshop Activity case study

Useful links




If you would like to use peer assessment as part of your module, please get in touch with the TEL team or if you use peer assessment in your module and would like to contribute to a case study, please contact tel@yorksj.ac.uk 

1 responses on "Assessment Series Day 3 - Peer Assessment"

  1. Thanks – I’ve used peer review in the past with students – including in one case when they had to have created the assessment rubric as a group, then apply it to each others/their own work; before finally reflecting on the whole process, in particular aspects of creating the criteria. It was, I think, very useful – but, as you’ve noted, primarily for improving their own understanding of assessment, rather than necessarily the feedback they received from each other.

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