When students complete their projects in my computer lab, the most often form of assessment they receive is a summative assessment that I provide. This is usually in the form of a rubric that lists components of the project and a description of the levels of quality from excellent to poor. I feel that these rubrics are helpful to students because they provide a guide for what is expected of them as they work through their project, but what I have found is that many times we look over the rubric at the beginning of the project and many of the students cast them aside and fail to look at them again. While my rubric is an important tool for summative assessment, I also feel that a peer and/or self assessment can also be equally effective.
A peer assessment can help students internalize the characteristics of quality work. I believe that when a student knows that someone at their level will also be evaluating their work, they may pay more attention to detail and quality. I also think they will find the feedback from their peers to be more relevant. Peer evaluation also encourages more student involvement. For example, my fourth grade students are working on a PowerPoint presentation on famous inventors. Typically I would be the only one reviewing the students work and presentations, but by incorporating peer evaluation, the students watching the presentations will be more engaged and get more out of each presentation. This will also develop the students’ judgment skills. By becoming more adept at peer evaluation, students will in turn be able to critically evaluate their own projects before they are submitted. Another way to use peer feedback is to incorporate it into student group work. My seventh grade students are working on group projects where they are learning how to use a web communication tool, figuring out ways to incorporate that tool in their core subjects, and presenting their tool to the rest of the class. Peer evaluation allows the students to reflect on their role and the contributions they made to the group. It provides accountability for all group members so that students will not “free load” off their group members since their contribution will be graded by their peers.
Self assessment also encourages students to take greater responsibility for their learning. Through self assessment, students can learn from their mistakes, identify their strengths and weaknesses, and become more active in their learning. My eighth grade students are developing their own websites. By adding a self assessment to the project, it will encourage the students to become more involved and responsible for their final product. It will encourage the students to reflect on how focused they were on the creation of their website. Like peer evaluation, it will also help the students focus on their judgment skills and develop their ability to critique the quality of their work before it is submitted. My seventh grade students can also perform a self assessment of their role as group member during the creation of their web communication tool presentations. This will help them critically analyze their contribution to the project and their group.
Many of my students have had little exposure to peer and self assessment; therefore, they lack the skills and judgment to effectively complete these forms of evaluation at this time. As their teacher, it will be my role to fully prepare the students for these types of evaluation by introducing them to these concepts and my expectations when the project is in its early stages. While this may be time consuming, it is a valuable process as the students develop their 21st century learning skills.