Encouraging implementation and improvement of peer assessment in university teaching

Posted by Natasa Brouwer, Crtomir Podlipnik, Krištof Kranjc, on Oct. 13, 2021, 6:52 p.m.

David Titovšek, Črtomir Podlipnik, Krištof Kranjc
University of Ljubljana (UL)/Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology (FKKT)/Chemistry and Biochemistry Bachelor’s and Master’s programme, Slovenia

Challenge and goal

Lecturers often feel that they have problems with evaluating knowledge of their students. But regardless of this, they mostly still insist on the century-long tradition of making an evaluation on their own (only). They don’t trust the students that they will evaluate their peers efficiently, correctly and fairly. We think the objectivity of the assessment is the one issue being the most often questioned by the lecturers. They have fear of the bias as the students can be friends with each other, therefore thinking this might impact on their objectivity of assessment. On the other hand, students also often have reservations about peer assessment especially when peer grades will be used in the final grade of the course.

Additionally, it was noticed that students feel an inadequate feedback (i.e. lack of constructive and useful information) from their lecturers when assignments include literature data search, comparison of data, essay writing and similar creative tasks.

Topic of the user case

Peer assessment

Local context (specific)

Modern approaches to teaching, such as constructivism, emphasize the active role of the student in learning, and many teachers are incorporating active learning in their teaching practices. Nevertheless, the principles of constructivist teaching are often neglected when it comes to the design and implementation of assessments. Many university teachers want to maintain complete control over assessment of their students. This is also true at UL FKKT, where assessment is most commonly carried out by the teacher and students rarely play a more active role in assessment. With implementation of peer assessment in the teaching practice we can move from teacher-centered towards student-centered education. This form of learning promotes active student participation, taking greater responsibility for one’s own learning, and development of metacognitive skills. Some teachers have already implemented peer assessment in their classes but there is always room for improvement in objectivity and accuracy of peer feedback, and student perception of peer assessment.

Local educational scope (science, technology, engineering, math, other)

Areas of initial application would be in the field of chemistry (organic, inorganic, analytical, physical and biochemistry) but would be in subsequent steps broadened to the other department of FKKT, where materials sciences, chemical engineering and processional safety are the main focus of study. With positive results achieved locally at our FKKT, we could proceed further, to the other faculties dealing with STEM disciplines (biology, physic, mathematics, pharmacy etc.).

Pre-knowledge / Background of the participating local teaching staff

There is no pedagogical education course required for the university teachers in UL. Recently new teaching assistants who lead laboratory practice have been encouraged to participate in a Massive Open Online Course Teaching in University Science Laboratories (Developing Best Practice) at Coursera.

Local CPD goals

A. Promote awareness of peer assessment benefits for student learning at the university.

  1. The examples provided in peer assessment will inspire other lecturers to develop analogous activities in the frame of their own teaching field.
  2. The peer assessment approach is founded on literature data and will further result in new results and ideas that will be shared and promoted throughout the STEM community as a worthwhile CPD goal.

B. Developing a microMOOC to improve teaching competences of university teachers at UL FKKT and to promote implementation of peer assessment as a viable alternative or supplement to teacher’s assessment. Upon completion of the microMOOC teachers will know the benefits of peer assessment and be able to implement.


Needs defined in STEM-CPD Roadmap

3 choose an appropriate assessment method for their course
4 engage students and arouse interest for the discipline in the class
2 have high expectations for the students and themselves.
5 be interested in their students' progress.
7 read literature about teaching and learning in higher education.
8 discuss teaching with their colleagues.
2 attending presentations about teaching approaches.
5 following online courses / MOOC about teaching and learning.

CPD activities at the local university

INOVUP project, providing lectures of foreign (and domestic) experts on many pedagogical aspects and how to improve it (the participation is voluntary)

Teaching and learning materials

MicroMOOC: Better evaluation with student peer assessment (link to the microMOOC, literature…

Sustainable implementation

Positive change towards implementation of peer assessment where students play an active role in giving and receiving feedback about their learning progress. Showing other lecturers by the good examples that it is worth pursuing peer assessment in their STEM courses.


Expected impact of the CPD User Case


Plans for eventual continuation of the CPD within the same topic


Constructive alignment, Engagement and motivation, facilitation discipline specific learning (type P1-1, P1-3b)

This CPD scenario describes a User case in which lecturers develop their competence in sound course design and how to engage and motivate students and how to facilitate discipline specific thinking and develop attitudes in how to stay motivated and self-regulate their continuous professional development and supporting student development and enabling students’ well-being in a learning process and inclusivity and practicing teaching and learning in an evidence informed way and knowledge sharing.
The approximate duration of a User case that follows this scenario is several weeks.
In this CPD scenario the participants are using a very short open online course, a micro mooc (μmooc) and professionalize in a close connection to their own teaching practice (at their workplace) and meet in person on location with the training staff and with other participants.

Learning environment
Several weeks

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