Chapter 9

Self and peer assessment and feedback

Self assessment is the first step to all assessment.
Enhance Dreams


Whereas Chapter 8 focussed on reflective and formative feedback from the part of the teachers, the focus of this chapter is on who else should give feedback.

Self and peer assessment are still considered relatively new pedagogical practices and are by no means the norm on university courses. Yet self and peer assessment are powerful amplifiers of learning particularly because they provide more formative feedback and they develop students’ self-regulation which is a life asset for life-long, life-wide learning as well as for employment.

About the case studies

Three case studies showcase various approaches to self and peer assessment and feedback: to deepen students’ learning; to develop feedback literacy; and to assess individual contribution in group assignments.

1. In the printed/ebook edition, a case study by Kay Sambell and Linda Graham (UK) entitled ‘Supporting students to self-assess to deepen and develop their learning’ discusses the critical role of self-assessment in enhancing and extending students’ learning.

Watch the authors discuss the implications for practice of their approach to self-assessment to design more inclusive learning.

2. Here below read a case study by Chie Adachi and Jo Elliott entitled ‘Developing feedback literacy in modelling professional practice – peer assessment among digital learning professionals’ which shows how peer assessment to further assessment literacy can be integrated in an existing assessment regime, without altering the learning outcomes.

3. In the printed/ebook edition, a case study by five colleagues from Spain entitled ‘Rubric to self and peer assess the students’ individual contribution in group assignments’ which discusses the value of using rubrics for what is perceived as one of the most challenging assessment types: students’ individual contribution in collaborative submissions.

Developing feedback literacy in modelling professional practice – peer assessment among digital learning professionals

By Chie Adachi and Jo Elliott

This case study illustrates a pedagogical design of developing feedback literacy in postgraduate students with a diverse range of professional experiences in digital education. The unit of study is entitled ‘Digital Learning, Design and Assessment’, a foundational theoretical unit within both the Graduate Certificate and Master of Digital Learning Leadership Courses at Deakin University in Australia. The adult learners are professionals who have been working within the industry of digital education, for at least five years and looking to advance their career in this area of work.

The rationale to design for and include a peer assessment element was two-fold: i) it was imperative that assessment tasks were authentic to not only engage busy professionals deeply but also model real-world professional practices of educational designers (Ashford-Rowe 2014; Villarroel et al 2020) and ii) the application of feedback literacy and evaluative judgement skills is vital in any professional context, but particularly educational work, (Adachi et al 2018; Tai et al 2018). A learning task of peer assessment was therefore designed to scaffold this learning process and metacognition.

As shown in the image below, in a summative assessment task, ‘Professional Practice Action Plan’ (2500 words equivalent), students explore a topic/theory of interest, e.g., gamification or digital storytelling, reflect on their practice and devise a plan for their future work. Students then critically review each other’s draft work and provide constructive feedback, using the same rubric used by teachers for the final submission. To ensure engagement, students explain in their final draft, how they incorporated (or not) peer feedback, with 20% of the final grade allocated to this reflection and demonstration of engagement with peer feedback. In this way, we educators assess how well students evaluate and incorporate the peer feedback to improve their work, rather than the quality of feedback provided to each other. Given the nature of the course, we also model the authentic work of experimenting with digital tools by using FeedbackFruits, a scaffolded peer assessment tool developed by a Dutch start-up in 2018.

Under the title 'Digital learning, design and assessment: peer and teacher feedback process', a time line shows, on top 'student actions' and on the bottom 'teacher action' and 'key due dates'. Students produce a first draft, carry out peer review, review the feedback and enhance their submission before the final submission where they receive and review teacher feedback.

Image: Timeline of peer and teacher feedback process

Over the last 4 years with this peer assessment design, students largely responded positively to this task, noting that they benefited from the below aspects of metacognition:

– Receiving of constructive feedback to improve their work

– Constructing and giving of quality peer feedback

– Engaging and understanding the rubric better

– Evaluating and reflecting their own response to feedback

In conclusion, this task provides a meaningful opportunity to develop students’ feedback literacy skills. Although it is a low-stake task requiring no additional learning design effort from teachers, it adds authenticity in modelling the professional practice of peer feedback and peer learning. This case study and its lessons learned will be particularly applicable to postgraduate courses where peer assessment and feedback is a critical part of their professional practice.


Adachi, C., Tai, J., & Dawson, P. (2018). A framework for designing, implementing, communicating and researching peer assessment. Higher Education Research & Development, 37(3), 453-467. doi: 10.1080/07294360.2017.1405913

Ashford-Rowe, K., Herrington, J., & Brown, C. (2014). Establishing the critical elements that determine authentic assessment. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 39(2), 205-222. doi: 10.1080/02602938.2013.819566

Tai, J., Ajjawi, R., Boud, D., Dawson, P., & Panadero, E. (2018). Developing evaluative judgement: enabling students to make decisions about the quality of work. Higher Education, 76(3), 467-481. doi:10.1007/s10734-017-0220-3

Villarroel, V., Boud, D., Bloxham, S., Bruna, D., & Bruna, C. (2020). Using principles of authentic assessment to redesign written examinations and tests. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 57(1), 38-49. doi:10.1080/14703297.2018.1564882

Inclusivity note

This case study focuses on the benefits of peer review: by giving and providing formative feedback on more than one occasion, students engage with the assessment rubric, enhance their feedback literacy and reflect on feedback received.

The challenge lies in identifying the right amount and the right stage to introduce it. Undergraduate students in their first year (especially if they are overseas students from very different educational systems) have much to adjust to and benefit from more direct teacher guidance and feedback. As students grow academically, they can better gauge the quality of their own and others’ outputs – this is when integrating an increasing amount of self and peer assessment is most beneficial.