Issues in Peer Assessment and E-Learning

Issues in Peer Assessment and E-Learning

Robyn Benson (Monash University, Australia)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-410-1.ch007
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This chapter addresses some issues relating to the use of e-learning tools and environments for implementing peer assessment. It aims to weigh up the opportunities and the challenges that are offered by considering peer assessment for learning and peer assessment of learning. In doing this, reference is made to some of the general issues that arise in implementing peer assessment in higher education, as well as to the functionalities of e-learning tools and environments, and the characteristics of those who use them in this context (teachers and students). Discussion of opportunities focuses on strategies for peer assessment available from tools and environments that are categorized as pre-Web 2.0 (and continuing) technologies, Web 2.0 technologies, and ‘other tools’. Consideration of challenges focuses on the characteristics and requirements of teachers and students as users. It is concluded that opportunities outweigh challenges, particularly in relation to peer assessment for learning, but that peer assessment of learning is more challenging and likely to be more limited in uptake because of the expectations that are placed on users. It is also noted that the capacities offered by Web 2.0 technologies for peer-based relationships and interaction with content present both an opportunity and a challenge which may have future implications for the role of the teacher and for supporting a reconceptualization of how evidence used for peer assessment of learning is presented and judged.
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The use of peer assessment in e-learning environments raises a number of issues, not all of them related to reliability and validity. Unpacking these issues requires consideration of the nature and purposes of assessment, examination of the nature and functionalities of particular e-learning tools and environments, and consideration of factors affecting the teachers and students who use them. In relation to the nature and purposes of assessment, the statement by Rowntree (1977) that assessment is an interaction which is aimed, to some extent, at knowing another person, foreshadowed a view that has become influential in recent years, suggesting that assessment is about more than the measurement of performance, which in turn raises issues beyond those associated with reliability and validity. Serafini (2004) identifies three paradigms of assessment: assessment as measurement, followed historically by assessment as procedure, and thirdly, assessment as inquiry. It is in relation to the last of these that students may become involved in taking an active role in assessing their own learning and that of their peers in a wide variety of ways. This may also require a change in teachers’ perceptions about their own roles as they collect information about students’ learning in order to inform subsequent teaching and learning activities. Students’ involvement in this process is frequently related to the formative function of assessment in improving learning, rather than to its summative function in establishing the quality of learning by making judgments based on the application and verification of standards. However, students may also be involved in summative assessment of the performance of their peers.

The chapter addresses these functions in relation to peer assessment and e-learning in order to consider some of the associated opportunities and challenges, and their implications for assessment practice, including their implications for reliability and validity. This requires exploration of the functionalities of different kinds of e-learning tools and environments and of some of the factors impacting on their use by teachers and students. In this chapter, the implementation of peer assessment for e-learning includes use of the networked environment as a medium for undertaking assessment tasks and/or for peer communication about assessment, as well as the use of electronic tools which may or may not make use of a networked environment, where peer communication does not necessarily occur electronically. In particular, it will focus on whether the opportunities outweigh the challenges for one or both of these functions of assessment. The chapter concludes with an assessment of the value of e-learning tools and environments in relation to peer assessment for learning and of learning, commenting on how this compares to peer assessment in a face-to-face environment and noting the potential implications that Web 2.0 technologies offer for supporting a reconceptualization of how evidence for assessment is presented and judged.

Complete Chapter List

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Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Gary Poole
Christine Spratt, Paul Lajbcygier
Chapter 1
Selby Markham, John Hurt
Reliability and validity have a well-established place in the development and implementation of educational assessment devices. With the advent of... Sample PDF
Re-Assessing Validity and Reliability in the E-Learning Environment
Chapter 2
Päivi Hakkarainen, Tarja Saarelainen, Heli Ruokamo
In this chapter the authors report on the assessment framework and practices that they applied to the e-learning version of the Network Management... Sample PDF
Assessing Teaching and Students' Meaningful Learning Processes in an E-Learning Course
Chapter 3
Charlotte Brack
Within the notion of Web 2.0, social software has characteristics that make it particularly relevant to ELearning, aligning well with a social... Sample PDF
Collaborative E-Learning Using Wikis: A Case Report
Chapter 4
Mike Hobbs, Elaine Brown, Marie Gordon
This chapter provides an introduction to learning and teaching in the virtual world Second Life (SL). It focuses on the nature of the environment... Sample PDF
Learning and Assessment with Virtual Worlds
Chapter 5
Paul White, Greg Duncan
This chapter describes innovative approaches to E-Learning and related assessment, driven by a Faculty Teaching and Learning Technologies Committee... Sample PDF
A Faculty Approach to Implementing Advanced, E-Learning Dependent, Formative and Summative Assessment Practices
Chapter 6
Christine Armatas, Bernard Colbert
Two challenges with online assessment are making sure data collected is secure and authenticating the data source. The first challenge relates to... Sample PDF
Ensuring Security and Integrity of Data for Online Assessment
Chapter 7
Robyn Benson
This chapter addresses some issues relating to the use of e-learning tools and environments for implementing peer assessment. It aims to weigh up... Sample PDF
Issues in Peer Assessment and E-Learning
Chapter 8
Paul Lajbcygier, Christine Spratt
This chapter presents recent research on group assessment in an e-learning environment as an avenue to debate contemporary issues in the design of... Sample PDF
The Validity of Group Marks as a Proxy for Individual Learning in E-Learning Settings
Chapter 9
Robert S. Friedman, Fadi P. Deek, Norbert Elliot
In order to offer a unified framework for the empirical assessment of e-learning (EL), this chapter presents findings from three studies conducted... Sample PDF
Validation of E-Learning Courses in Computer Science and Humanities: A Matter of Context
Chapter 10
Richard Tucker, Jan Fermelis, Stuart Palmer
There is considerable evidence of student scepticism regarding the purpose of team assignments and high levels of concern for the fairness of... Sample PDF
Designing, Implementing and Evaluating a Self-and-Peer Assessment Tool for E-Learning Environments
Chapter 11
Andrew Sanford, Paul Lajbcygier, Christine Spratt
A differential item functioning analysis is performed on a cohort of E-Learning students undertaking a unit in computational finance. The motivation... Sample PDF
Identifying Latent Classes and Differential Item Functioning in a Cohort of E-Learning Students
Chapter 12
Christine Armatas, Anthony Saliba
A concern with E-Learning environments is whether students achieve superior or equivalent learning outcomes to those obtained through traditional... Sample PDF
Is Learning as Effective When Studying Using a Mobile Device Compared to Other Methods?
Chapter 13
Thomas C. Reeves, John G. Hedberg
Evaluation falls into the category of those often neglected human practices such as exercise and eating right. All of us involved in education or... Sample PDF
Evaluation Strategies for Open and Distributed Learning Environments
Chapter 14
Madhumita Bhattacharya
This chapter presents a description and analysis of salient issues related to the development of an integrated e-portfolio application implemented... Sample PDF
Introducing Integrated E-Portfolio Across Courses in a Postgraduate Program in Distance and Online Education
Chapter 15
John LeBaron, Carol Bennett
Teachers and designers of computer-networked settings increasingly acknowledge that active learner engagement poses unique challenges, especially... Sample PDF
Practical Strategies for Assessing the Quality of Collaborative Learner Engagement
Chapter 16
Som Naidu
Many teachers commonly use assessment as the starting point of their teaching activities because they believe that assessment drives learning and... Sample PDF
Afterword: Learning-Centred Focus to Assessment Practices
About the Contributors