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​​​​Using Peer Assessment to Scale the Quantification of Learning Objectives

​ Project contacts: Jackie Pichette (HEQCO) and Steve Joordens (UTS)

A crucial part of the postsecondary experience is learning from fellow students. Hearing and considering the differing opinions and beliefs of one’s peers is a fundamental part of the student journey. This project would like to explore whether there are new ways to take advantage of peer relationships, including the use of peer feedback as a method of assessment.

One of the skills colleges and universities aim to instil, and students hope to develop, is critical thinking. This is a skill that many employers seek in prospective hires, and one that can be applied to almost any line of work. Previous HEQCO research has shown that validated rubrics are an effective tool in assessing critical-thinking skills, but the same research has also proven that rubrics can be time-consuming and difficult to implement on a large scale. How, then, can critical thinking and other cognitive skills be measured in large classroom environments? Could the use of peer assessment be the answer?

By engaging students in the assessment process, instructors are able to make them active participants rather than passive bystanders, while also utilizing a method of critical-thinking assessment that can be used in any class, program or institution regardless of size.

This project will also examine questions surrounding the use of peer assessment such as how it compares with the assessment of a TA, a professor or an expert assessor, and whether the same critical-thinking assessments can be used across different years of study, disciplines and universities. Furthermore, it will explore whether this approach is one that students feel could enhance their learning experience and help develop their critical-thinking skills in the process.

Materials and Outcomes


​Throughout the course of this project, updates and final reports will be posted here.​