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Self and peer assessment

Developing feedback literacy and evaluative judgement using self and peer assessment

Students can be supported to develop skills and build knowledge through participation in activities the involve ‘self assessment’ of these two areas and reflection on the results of such a self review. Activities that involve assessing the skills, performances outputs of peers are also valuable learning tools.

Self assessment involves students in understanding criteria to apply to their own work and determining the extent to which they have met these criteria. Peer assessment includes the process in which students assess the achievements, learning outcomes, and performances of their peers. (Abassian, et al, 2017: 6).

Why would I use self and peer assessment ?

Self and peer assessment are critical to the development of evaluative judgement (Tai et al, 2018). Evaluative judgement is particularly dependent on authentic tasks and activities that ask learners to review and assess their own work and the work of others, against a set of standards or criteria. Guiding students to successfully reconcile feedback from different sources (such as their teachers, their peers, a workplace supervisor or a mentor) provides powerful learning opportunities. Apart from that valuable outcome, self and peer assessment can also support other highly desirable and closely related aims:

  • Encourages independent and ‘self-regulated’ learning without constant input from each (Boud, et al 1999; Nichol, 2020; Wood & Freney, 2007)
  • Develops teamwork, collaborative and communication skills (Wu,et al 2014)
  • Develops reflective and critical thinking skills (Somervell, 1993; Nichol, 2020; Wood & Freney, 2007)
  • Is a form of authentic assessment (Boud, et al 2013) that mirrors workplace learning and practice
  • Helps students  understand assessment criteria and rubrics (Yucel, et al 2014)
  • Encourages active learning; not always ‘to be assessed’, but as ‘assessors’ (Brindley & Scoffield, 1998)

Visit Deakin’s Graduate Learning Outcomes (GLOs) to see how self and peer assessment outcomes can be connected to progressive mastery of GLOs. 

When would I use self and peer assessment? 

Development of the capabilities outlined in the list above is progressive task for learners. Think about which tasks and forms of assessment you can use in first-year, to assist commencing students to start on this journey. Self review is a great place to begin. The SharePoint site, Active, engaged learning with FeedbackFruits has a collection of use cases that you can consider in thinking through the use of self and peer assessment in your teaching, the benefits of using this technology and addressing the known challenges you might face with proven strategies that you can use to navigate them.

Read the training resource article on feedback literacy for case studies that support progress toward GLO6 and GLO7. 

How do I get stated with self and peer assessment? 

Detailed pedagogical advice is available on Active, engaged learning with FeedbackFruits which showcases the full suite of FeedbackFruits tools. Access technical overviews and guides for using these tools to support self and peer assessment though these further resources.

Read next

Abbasian, G., Khezrinejad, M., and Teimourtash, M. (2017) Involving Self, Peer, and Teacher-Assessment in a Writing Course: A Cross Comparison and Reflection of Students’ Perceptions, The Journal of Applied Linguistics and Applied Literature, 5:1, 3-26.

Boud, D., Cohen, R., and Sampson, J. (1999) Peer Learning and Assessment, Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 24, 413-426.

Boud, D., Dawson, P, Tai, J and Ajjawi, R. (2018) Creating an agenda for developing students’ evaluative judgement. In Boud, D, Ajjawi, R, Dawson, P and Tai, J (Eds.), Developing evaluative judgement in higher education: assessment for knowing and producing quality work (pp.186-195). London: Routledge.

Brindley, C. and Scoffield, S. (1998) Peer Assessment in Undergraduate Programmes, Teaching in Higher Education, 3:1, 79-90.

Boud, D. and Molloy, E. (2013) Rethinking models of feedback for learning: the challenge of design, Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 38, 698-712.

Somervell, H. (1993) Issues in Assessment, Enterprise and Higher Education: the case for self‐peer and collaborative assessment, Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 18:3, 221-233.

Yucel, R., Bird, F., Young, J. and Blanksby, T (2014) The road to self-assessment: exemplar marking before peer review develops first-year students’ capacity to judge the quality of a scientific report, Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 39:8, 971-986.

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