Self and peer assessment

Despite the opportunities provided by computers in the provision of feedback, there are many situations which require feedback to be prepared by a human being. Unless you have the luxury of small student groups you will be all too aware of the time required to provide such feedback.

Unfortunately for us, feedback is central to learning and students often have an insatiable appetite for it. One solution is to incorporate elements of self and peer assessment into your courses.

This approach needs to be handled with sensitivity but can be a valuable addition to your courses. In addition to providing your students with more feedback, this will also help them to develop capabilities in assessing their own written work as well as that of their peers.

Peer assessment can also be invaluable in group work. For example, asking your students to assess each other's contribution will reveal any students who did not contribute their fair share to a project.

Peer review systems

A number of online peer review systems exist that facilitate peer assessment, usually using a defined marking rubric.

Examples of self and peer review systems

Calibrated Peer Review

Calibrated Peer Review is a free web-based service hosted by the University of California, Los Angeles in the USA ( This service may be used for all discipline areas, and provides system stored anonymous assignments at different levels, or you may upload your own assignments and marking rubric. The feedback to learners relies on you providing predefined responses and comments.


WebPA was developed at Loughborough University; this open source system incorporates a scoring algorithm that uses the self- and peer-assessment components of the marking scheme to modify the overall teacher mark for the product of the group work by normalisation of the teacher mark by the self- and peer-assessment components. The WebPA Internet site contains worked examples of the normalisation process and example criteria that may be used to assess group work.

Screenshot from Calibrated Peer Review

Screenshot from Calibrated Peer Review -


Getting started

Students may not be familiar with the criteria for self- and peer-assessment activities, so you will need to scaffold their initial attempts at an exercise by providing formative opportunities.


In the exercise below the statements highlight some of the issues that students will face when trying to complete a self- or peer-review. Match the statements with the most appropriate scaffold  you could provide.