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Peer learning and assessment
journal contributionposted on 01.12.1999, 00:00 authored by David BoudDavid Boud, R Cohen, J Sampson
Various forms of peer, collaborative or cooperative learning, particularly small group activities, are increasingly used within university courses to assist students meet a variety of learning outcomes. These include working collaboratively with others, taking responsibility for their own learning and deepening their understanding of specific course content. The potential benefits of peer learning have long been recognised and are especially relevant today. However, many existing assessment practices act to undermine the goals of peer learning and lead students to reject learning cooperatively. If assessment gives students the message that only individual achievement is valued, and that collaborative effort is akin to cheating, then the potential of peer learning will not be realised. Inappropriate assessment practices may also lead to unhelpful forms of competition within and between groups that prevent groups functioning effectively. This paper examines some of the main assessment issues in connection with peer learning and suggests ways in which the benefits of this approach can be maintained while still meeting the formal assessment requirements of the course. It discusses the use of group assessment, peer feedback and self-assessment, assessment of participation and negotiated assessment and concludes with the identification of a number of issues which remain to be addressed. © 1999 Taylor & Francis Ltd.