Summaries of research papers in alphabetical order.
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Liu, N. and Carless, D. (2006) Peer feedback: the learning element of peer assessment, Teaching in Higher Education, 11(3), 279-290.
This paper provides a rationale for peer feedback and contrasts it with peer assessment. The authors argue that peer feedback engages students actively in learning, it helps develop self-management and judgement, strengthens the capacity for self-assessment, helps develop subject knowledge, enables students to receive feedback more speedily, promotes social interaction. The authors also argue that peer assessment using grades can undermine this developmental potential of peer feedback. The paper draws on a large scale survey of 1740 students and 400 academics in Hong Kong and some interview data which shows that academics and students have misgivings about peer assessment. Issues raised are reliability of peer marking, whether students have expertise, and shifting power relationships. The paper ends with some curricular approaches that would make peer assessment more acceptable such as integrating it more productively with peer feedback processes. While the authors do make a case for peer feedback as an end in itself, in some places one is left with the feeling that they are rather reluctant to give up peer assessment completely. This is not the approach advocated in these web pages although it is certainly the case that teachers but not students might for practical reasons have to award some marks in implementing peer review (e.g. for the peer reviews students supply). This is an extremely valuable paper that was ahead of its time as it was written in 2006.