Listening to Patricia Cartney from Middlesex University speak at the Centre for Distance Education Conference last week made me think about peer assessment. Apologies to those who have been working in this area for year, my thoughts are probably terribly naive.
Students comment on other students’ work and benefit is claimed both from the fact that students are receiving feedback from others and from the fact that they are giving feedback to others. I wonder which of these is more significant? I asked the question and Patricia said she thinks it is the latter; that seems likely, but is has deep implications. To my mind it is yet more evidence that we (teachers) are waiting a lot of time in giving feedback that students don’t even understand, let alone use. As one of Patricia’s students said, the peer assessment process ‘wasn’t just about giving feedback to other people it was also whilst I was giving the feedback I was questioning my own work and learning from other peoples’ styles’.