1. Do more peer and self-assessment
You’ve probably heard this one a thousand times, but it’s at the top of the list because it’s one of the best ways to keep your marking down to a minimum. Besides, the benefits of peer and self-assessment go way beyond the reduction of workload:
- Peer-assessment encourages “student involvement and ownership of learning”, and self-assessment “encourages students to critically reflect on their learning progress” (The Center for Education Innovation of Hong Kong [Online])
- Both self and peer- assessment Focus “on the development of students’ judgment skills.” (the University of Sydney [Online])
But we don’t need the experts to tell us that peer and self-assessment are both really cool. Experience shows teachers that both techniques are simply a very efficient way to get our marking done, whilst reinforcing the concepts tested in the assignment being marked.
I know that some people will say “but what if the students cheat?” – that’s why we reserve teacher-driven marking for big final-assessments and tests, and coursework.
Besides, in my experience, when self and peer-assessment are done properly, it’s actually very hard for the kids to cheat.
Here are my top 3 tips for peer and self-assessment:
- Make sure you have an official mark-scheme/set of answers ready for those kids to use. I would advise against projecting the answers on the whiteboard and going through each question one-at-a-time: that just takes ages, and kids always have disputes and questions. Print the mark scheme or distribute it electronically.
- Sit at your desk, or at an accessible point in the classroom, and let the students come and see you if they have a doubt about how many marks to award to a question, or what the correct answer is. Don’t walk around the classroom and help the kids – it’ll drive you crazy and is very inefficient.
- Always insist that the students write the final mark/percentage at the top/front of the assignment – this will make your data-entry easy. Also, make sure you collect the work in after the peer/self-assessment and just have a quick glance through it – perhaps focusing on those questions where common misconceptions are likely to crop up. This has the added benefit of deterring student-cheating: the kids know you have collected in the work after they have marked it.
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