How to Peer Assess
Peer assessment is highlighted as such a great and effective assessment tool. However so many people struggle to find a way to use peer assessment so that it has an impact on their children’s learning.
Too many times I’ve furrowed my brow or sighed in despair at a child responding to a peer’s work with ‘your handwriting could be neater’ or ‘be better at spellings’ or of course my favourite response when asked what their peer could improve is when they write ‘nothing’ or ‘it’s perfect already’. While I’m happy that my children see presentation and spellings as very important, I know that that comment will have no lasting impact on their partner. Of course I’m happy that they want to tell each other how wonderful they are, but I do still want them to know that perfection requires a lot more work before it’s achieved.
Establishing good quality, investigative peer assessment is what is required to ensure when I use peer assessment it will create a lasting impact on the person who’s work is being peer assessed, whilst also moulding a more reflective approach for the person doing the peer assessment.
To start us of on the process of exploring great peer assessment I’ve made a poster to highlight to the children what great peer assessment looks like.
Download this poster and stick on your walls, on your tables and perhaps in the children’s books. Every time they are going to peer assess they need to have these sentence starters bounding through their brain.
As I blogged about in the ‘How to Self Assess’ post, great child assessment requires training. Give the children time to be absorbed within the world of great peer assessment. Use this poster and the ideas on it regularly and the children will be so comfortable with the correct way to peer assess you’ll hear them talking to each other in lessons asking the questions on the poster without prompting.
Let’s look a bit more at the three main elements of the poster. Over the next few months we’ll release many new resources on our website and on this blog which support you with each of these elements of peer assessment.
What Went Well? – It’s a classic assessment idea. Ask your children to recognise what their peer did well in their work. Link it to the lesson objective and/or the child’s targets. It’s easy to spot the good features of someone else’s work, but avoid letting the children give little puppy dog comments (‘well done’, ‘good work’ etc).
Even better if… – A bit trickier. The assessor must think about what’s missing or what could’ve been added to make it even better. KS1 and lower KS2 children really struggle with this. Make sure you reiterate that it’s important they’re honest and fair. If they’re honest and fair their partner won’t be upset about anything they write.
Next Step: – This area will take some training. I would strongly advise you to set clear targets for each child and have them stuck in their book. I will blog about the best way to do this soon. After saying what’s great about the work and what would make the work better, now the peer needs to think about the next lesson and what their partner needs to do to improve their work or continue to make great progress.
This poster is just the start. Soon there will be loads of other Teaching Essentials resources to support your use of this poster and to promote great peer assessment, self assessment and target setting. Keep popping back to the blog for more resources.
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