Student Self and Peer Assessment (SAPA) is proposed as a solution to motivation, process and assessment issues in team-based assessment. (p. 172) Students may contribute to the feedback of group members in the form of qualitative and/or quantitative; formative and/or summative; formal and/or informal and period or one-off. Those advocating feel that this increases student engagement. I tend to agree. If everyone is being assessed based on the work they do within the group, they may be less apt to be a non-contributor. When the group grade is given to everyone regardless of contribution, one may have the mindset of, “it will get done.” “The others will do it.” But when one’s group grade can be affected by their non-contribution, they may be more motivated to be a contributor.
There also is concern with peer assessments in that are individuals given a fair assessment. One may provide feedback that is too critical or they may avoid honest criticism. This does not give a fair reflection of the work. When done properly, if a rubric is created by the instructor indicating what the assessment categories are and how individuals should be assessed, this can lead to fairer assessment. For example, “To receive an Excellent rating, students must have completed and shown … “
One of the biggest challenges being changes in assessment practices toward more open, performance-oriented types of assessment showing competence in professionally relevant outcomes/qualifications. One specific problem is aligning summative and formative assessment practices. They discuss the need for more professional development of instructors. There is reference in the article that several studies show that teachers do not hold assessment conceptions that fit new approaches to assessment, and that teacher assessment conceptions should change.
Based on the study of assessment problems in the following findings and recommendations were presented:
- If teamwork assignments are to reflect the type of willing and productive collaboration demanded by professional practice, then the completed assignment can only be assessed as a product of that collaboration, whereas the assessment of an individual’s contribution to the project must focus rather on the process of arriving at that product. This in particular, is a valid argument for the use of peer assessment. When working in a team environment, unless the instructor is overseeing every aspect of the project, how do they know the contribution of the individual members.
- Students find peer assessment to be more manageable and a more accurate reflection of individual contribution when it is continuous throughout a teamwork assignment rather than one-off. Again, this is a valid argument of the use of continual assessment and peer assessment. Learners can have a sense of how they are progress and contributing if they are evaluated as they go along in the work.
- Quality of teamwork as measured in grades increases in problem and project based learning assignments when continuous peer assessment is used to assess individual contributions, such as teacher-only assessment. This seems to be the most motivational of the assessments. When one knows their contribution to the team can affect their overall group grade, they will most likely, be more of a contributing member to the team.
- Students greatly prefer the individualized assessment of their assignment contributions based on online SAPA rather than all team members being allocated the same mark. Again, as the previous one suggests, learners may be more motivated to contribute. By the same token, those who normally would do the work (or the bulk of the work) feel there is more of a fairness in the grading.
Gulikers, J., Biemans, H., Wesselink, R. and van der Wel, M. Aligning formative and summative assessments: A collaborative action research challenging teacher conceptions. (2013) Studies in Educational Evaluation. 39. 116 – 124.