Unit 4 - Assessment for learning and lesson pacing

Session 4.4 - Peer and self-assessment (participants version)

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Learning intentions and objectives.
In this session you will learn about:

  • peer and self-assessment as AfL methods that promote independent learning, communication and support in the classroom
  • combining the use of two self-assessment measures - inventory and traffic lights
  • strategies for peer and self-assessment such as two stars and a wish/thinking hats/checklist

Success criteria.
To meet the learning intentions you will:

  • give examples of how you could use inventory and traffic lights in the classroom
  • read about peer and self-assessment and formulate your ideas during discussion
  • peer assess each others homework
  • role play peer assessment between students working at different paces
  • try out some strategies for peer and self-assessment in the classroom

ICT components.
In this session you will continue consolidating the ICT skills you have learnt so far, and apply them in the classroom. You will be able to apply AfL techniques in conjunction with ICT classroom use as well.

1 Review of follow-up activities from last session

Oer4s Agness fun maths 1.jpg

2 Use of inventory and traffic lights for self-assessment

Activity icon.png Observing, thinking, reflecting (5 min): Use of traffic lights. Inventory and Traffic Lights are both self-assessment measures. You have learned the use of both these measures during the sessions in Unit 4. Using the traffic light cards that you have available at your school (or whatever equivalent you are using), show your comfort level with use of these two measures. For this exercise, the different colours of the traffic lights are as follows:

  • RED means “I’m not confident about using the two measures for self-assessment.”
  • ORANGE means “I’m not quite sure about using the two measures for self-assessment. I need a little more clarification.”
  • GREEN means “I understand fully how to use the two measures for self-assessment.”

Activity icon.png Whole class dialogue (10 min): Whole group discussion on traffic lights. Discuss your experiences of using these measures by reflecting on the questions below:

  • What are the advantages of using inventory as a self-assessment measure?
  • Do you think it can be useful for your own students? Why/Why not?
  • What could be some of the topics for which you could use inventory as a self-assessment measure?
  • Why do you think that you are able to self-assess using the inventory and traffic lights?
  • Do you think your students can self-assess themselves on a particular topic without giving them any help? Why is that so?
  • Just as you have done in this activity, could you combine the use of inventory and Traffic Lights for self-assessment in your class?
  • What could be the problems in carrying out any or both of the self-assessment measures? How will you resolve them?

3 Video watching on peer and self assessment

Activity icon.png Individual activity (5 min) Background reading. Peer and self-assessment is another AfL strategy that ‘promotes independent learning, communication and support in the classroom.’ (Afl Guidance, p 26). Read the following text that is summarised from the Afl Guidance notes (here or see below) You can also listen to the first part of the text:

Abel - AfL background text:


Abel - AfL background text.mp3

The description of the video

Abel - AfL background text.mp3, 1:23,(Series: OER4Schools audio, episode N/A)

Background reading

Peer and Self-Assessment

Evidence shows that students can learn to be skilled assessors whose feedback and grades are valid and reliable. Peer assessment and self-assessment are much more than learners simply marking their own or each other’s work. To improve learning, self-assessment must engage learners with the quality of their work and help them reflect on how to improve it. Peers can provide valuable feedback so that learners can learn from and support each other. (Assessment Reform Group, 2002)

Peer and self-assessment are useful for classes in which the student-teacher ratio is high. The practical constraints of the teacher’s time within these classes imply that it is difficult for the teachers to give quality feedback to each pupil. In such cases peer and self-assessment help to give every student indications about how their learning can progress.

Background reading

Peer and self-assessment are also useful because they:

  • help students develop valuable skills of making and defending judgements
  • considerably increase the amount of feedback which students receive on their work, thus increasing motivation
  • create a classroom environment in which students take responsibility for their own learning
  • engage students in constructive work independently, thereby allowing teachers to help students who need more support
  • can be less intimidating than a teacher’s critical comments (when not given using sensitive language)

Two popular means of peer and self-assessment are:

  • encouraging students to give formative feedback based on success criteria. These are mainly qualitative in nature and involve looking for evidence for each success criteria in student’s work
  • deciding a marking scheme on the basis of which students can give marks to each other. For example, every step of a mathematics problem can carry specific marks, which students can use to assess each other summatively

In this session we focus on the first method of qualitative assessment and feedback.

Assessment Reform Group, (2002), Assessment for learning: 10 principles (London, Assessment Reform Group).

Activity icon.png Observing, thinking, reflecting (5 min): Watch video clips on peer assessment. Now watch two clips on peer assessment, and be prepared to discuss the following questions afterwards:

  • What is your understanding of the usefulness of peer and self-assessment?
  • In the videos you have seen both primary and secondary school students assessing each other's work. What preparation do you think the teacher has done before giving the peer assessment task to the students?
  • How can you implement peer assessment in your classrooms?
  • What issues do you think you will have to deal with implementing peer assessment? Discuss how you will resolve these issues? (some issues could be: student readiness for both giving and receiving feedback, availability of coloured pens (highlighters) etc.)
  • Does peer and self-assessment imply less teacher’s responsibility?
  • What kind of problems can you anticipate if you try to introduce peer and self-assessment in your class?


Primary peer assessment

Primary peer assessment from Teachers TV (play full)

Video/Primary peer assessment.mp4, https://oer.educ.cam.ac.uk/wiki/Video/Primary_peer_assessment.mp4,This video is available on your memory stick in the video/Video from other organisations folder.About this video. Duration: 01:45 (Some use of "" in your query was not closed by a matching "". watch on YouTube, local play / download options / download from dropbox)(Series: Video from other organisations, episode N/A)


Secondary Peer Assessment.

Secondary Peer Assessment (clip)

Video/Secondary Peer Assessment clip.mp4, https://oer.educ.cam.ac.uk/wiki/Video/Secondary_Peer_Assessment_clip.mp4,This video is available on your memory stick in the video/Video from other organisations folder.About this video. Duration: 01:08 (Some use of "" in your query was not closed by a matching "". watch on YouTube, local play / download options / download from dropbox)(Series: Video from other organisations, episode N/A)

Activity icon.png Whole class dialogue (10 min) on the videos using the questions above.

4 Strategies for peer and self-assessment

Activity icon.png Individual activity (5 min): Reading about peer and self-assessment strategies. Teachers have developed several ways of introducing peer and self-assessment in their classrooms. Read the following examples and think about how useful they may be in your classroom. We will make use of these strategies in the next activity and you will use some of them in the classroom with your students after the session.

Strategy Description
A Star (or two stars) and a Wish Ask students to point out a positive aspect of the work of his/her friend and to express a wish about what their friend might do next time to improve on an aspect of the work.
De Bono’s Thinking Hats

Ask students to imagine wearing different coloured hats as a guide to give feedback to their friends or for themselves:

Yellow Hat: List the good points of the work

Black Hat: List the weaknesses in the work

Green Hat: List other way(s) of doing the work

Checklist Checklist facilitate peer- and self-assessment by focusing student’s attention on specific success criteria that they need to consider when looking at their own their friend’s responses to questions. Here is a example below:

Learning intentions: Recognise numerator/denominator and equivalent fractions.

Success Criteria Yes/No Comments (or suggestions for improvement)
I can recognise numerator and denominator
I can recognise and name equivalent fractions

Activity icon.png Same-task group work (10 min): in pairs, assess each others homework on formative feedback. You were asked to bring examples of your written formative feedback from the homework in the last session. Exchange these examples with a peer participant. Assess their work by using any one or more of the above-mentioned strategies. Remember the success criteria mentioned for giving formative feedback were:

  • identifying evidence where the student performed well and appreciating that performance
  • identifying evidence where the student could improve and giving practical tips for improving
  • suggesting a higher target for high achieving students

Give each other peer feedback about how your colleague can improve their formative feedback.

Some tips for written feedback to young learners:

  • develop some routines for feedback such as: smiley faces and stars for appreciation, question mark where you think improvement is needed and exclamation mark for caution about incorrect understanding etc.
  • if available, use different coloured pens for feedback where learners understand the meaning of each colour

5 Practice using peer and self-assessment

Oer4s gender and groupwork.jpg Oer4s Unit 2.4 Abel revision photo Ps.jpg

Activity icon.png Same-task group work (10 min) in pairs: Role play two students engaged in a peer assessment activity.

  • This is a role play activity. You and your partner will be role playing two students - one who is a ‘faster’ learner and the other a ‘slower’ learner. Decide on which student you want to role play.
  • Imagine that you have both been taught a lesson on equivalent fractions with the following learning objective and success criteria:

Topic: Equivalent Fractions



Success Criteria
To recognise and name equivalent fractions
  • Use objects or diagrams to show equivalent fractions.
  • Show examples of equivalent fractions
  • Write a story using equivalent fractions
  • Imagine that the teacher now poses these three questions that you must try to do on your mini boards:
    1. Draw two diagrams to show an equivalent fraction to ¾.
    2. List four examples of equivalent fractions to ¾.
    3. Write or tell a short story that makes use of equivalent fractions.
  • Take some time to answer the questions, while taking on the role of the ‘faster’ student or ‘slower’ student.
  • Still taking on the role of the student, use the checklist below to do a self-assessment of your work. Share your work with your partner and do a peer assessment of each other’s work.
Success Criteria
Not Sure
I can draw two diagrams showing equivalent fractions.
I can list four examples of equivalent fractions.
I can write or tell a short story using equivalent fractions.

Activity icon.png Whole class dialogue (10 min) on peer assessment role play. Questions for reflection:

  • How did you find the whole process of self-assessment and peer assessment as students?
  • Did you find that you (as a student) were able to assess others and themselves accurately and in a friendly and useful way?
  • Did you respond well to your friend’s assessment of your work?
  • If you had been changing partner for the different pair activities, did you find that you were more comfortable pairing up with a particular person for peer assessment? Why do you think so and what implications can there be for setting up successful peer assessment?
  • Now taking on the role of a teacher, what kind of preparation do you think you need to do to help your students to try out peer and self-assessment?
  • What are some ways you can check that the students have given accurate and good peer and self-assessment?

6 ICT practice: Different-tasks group work with ICT and activity planning

Activity icon.png Different-tasks group work (20 min) on becoming an expert. As we discussed in the ICT practice in the first session of this unit, you now have an opportunity to deepen your skills in your chosen application. Divide into the same pairs as last time and continue developing the skills in your chose application. What is the idea that you are developing? In the last session of this Unit, you will be able to present what you have developed, so make notes, and work towards a particular item, such as a spreadsheet, a GeoGebra file etc.

7 Connecting with overarching goals of the programme

Activity icon.png Open space (10 min). It's now time for the "open space", that gives you an opportunity to discuss issues that have arisen, and to relate those to the broader context of the programme. Do not just gloss over this section, but make time to raise issues, and probe the progress that you are making. You could use this space to:

  • Remind yourselves of the of the Most Significant Change Technique, and e.g. collect more of your stories.
  • Discuss your assessment portfolios: Is there anything that you are unsure about? Is it going well? What could be done better?
  • Check on the work with the classroom assistants: Is this going well? Are there any tensions? Any observations or tips you can share?
  • Reviewing individual ICT practise (such as typing practise).
  • If you are preparing a presentation for other teachers, you could work on the presentation (about what you have been learning, stories emerging from MSC).
  • Remind those who are doing audio diaries, to upload them.
  • You could discuss any other issues that have arisen.

You will find notes and summaries of various techniques and concepts on our reference page, and you might want to refer to those for clarification during this activity if needed.

8 Follow-up activities

Activity icon.png Agreeing follow-up activities (5 min).

Part A: Update the electronic version of “My assessment inventory.doc (info)”. Open your file from your ‘files area’ on your desktop. Fill it in and save it again. We will be self-assessing the inventories at the beginning of the next session so ensure that you bring the completed paper inventory (all five rows should now be filled in) to the next session and that the electronic version is up to date.

Part B: For a topic that you teach this week, try to introduce at least one strategy of peer assessment and one for self-assessment. Record answers to the following questions on the dictaphone:

  • Which peer and self-assessment strategy did you try?
  • Did you find that it has worked well for you and for your students?
  • How will you prepare yourself better to introduce peer and self-assessment in future lessons?

9 Acknowledgment

We thank Toni Glasson for allowing us to make use of sections (p. 77-110) of her book, Improving Student Achievement: A Practical guide to Assessment for Learning, Curriculum Corporation 2009 (ISBN: 9781742003078)