Improving The Student Experience: Self- And Peer-Assessment In Group Projects

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Abstract

Group projects are an important part of undergraduate computer science learning because of their role in developing working skills which are vital for professionals in the computing industry. While group projects offer many potential learning benefits, there is no guarantee that the development of working skills will be achieved. In fact, group projects introduce their own stresses and strains for students due to the need to share the workload as fairly as possible, in how individual contributions are measured and recognised, the effect this has on individual performance, and ultimately how this contributes to the student’s success in the course. Group projects which are not designed, supervised and assessed in a way that promotes meaningful teamwork and collaboration can lead to failure. One approach to supporting group work and encouraging engagement by all is to use self and peer assessment. The concept of peer-assessment (also known as peer review) has been used in education and beyond for many years. It provides a transparent mechanism through which students can critique and provide summative feedback to their fellow students on their work. Additionally, this may encourage students to take an independent approach to their own personal learning. For example, self and peer assessment encourages students to engage with the assessment criteria and also to reflect on their own performance as well as the performance of their fellow students. This is considered by many as an important process as developing and providing peer feedback to other students also assists students in developing critical thinking skills and objective evaluative judgements based on the assignment criteria. With group projects students are often disgruntled by the idea that all group members will receive the same mark regardless of individual effort. In this paper we demonstrate practical use of the WebPA system to allow students to perform self- and peer-assessment to effectively measure individual contributions within group projects and improve the student experience. The impact of the tools in supporting and measuring performance is validated through quantitative and qualitative student feedback where we demonstrate two key points: firstly, the students generally had an enjoyable experience in the assessment process and secondly, we achieved student satisfaction in the mark allocation process.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEDULEARN 21
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jul 2021

Keywords

  • peer assessment
  • project based learning
  • group projects

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