Peer Work

The Peer Work activity replaces the previous WebPA activity to address the issue of all students receiving the same grade for group assignments regardless of individual contributions. In a Peer Work assessment students are presented with a range of criteria and a grading scale to assess the performance/contribution of their peer group (and optionally themselves). Additional options include leaving feedback comments to justify their ratings, and to submit a document for review. Teachers then set a group mark and a peer weighting, and the activity calculates the individual student grades.

How to set up a Peer Work activity

First you need to create the grading scale in your Moodle module’s Grades area, and this might be a Likert scale (1-5) or some other range of values. From the drop-menu select Scales > View and then choose to add a new scale.

Each item in the scale should be separated by a comma and you can use as many options as you require. You must order the comma separated elements in increasing order of value.

When you are creating the Peer Work activity the scale will be available to assign to each of the grading criteria.

Peer Work Scoring

Peer Work produces a weighting for each student that is above or below 1.0  depending on whether they have been rated poorly or well by their peers. Each student’s mark is therefore the overall group mark that is attenuated by the Peer work weighting. Students are able to quickly determine if they did well on the peer assessment by comparing the values, ie. if the peer assessment score is higher than the group score their peers rated them highly. Some tutors prefer to maintain two grade items in Moodle, one for the overall group work and another for the peer assessment

How does Peer Work calculate the marks?

A student’s overall Peer Work score is an average of the Peer Work scores received for each question, which are values above or below 1 depending on how positively they were rated in relative to their other group members. If group members give each other the same marks (high or low) the everyone gets the same Peer Work score of 1.

Each mark a student awards to a group member is divided by the total number of marks the student awarded in that question. For example if a student awarded their group members 4, 5 and 3, then these marks are
divided by 12 so that they receive 0.33, 0.42 and 0.25 respectively. This is repeated for each group member and their marks are added to give a Peer Work score for the question.

The effect of ‘normalising’ the marks is that each student has effectively one mark to share between group members, and accounts for when a student is more generous and awards a larger total of marks compared to other members of the group (or vice versa).

What happens if a group member does not complete their peer assessment?
If a group had 5 members but only 4 sets of marks are awarded, Peer Work compensates for this by applying a multiplication factor to each student mark, for example 5 (students in group) / 4 (students submitting) = 1.25 (multiplication factor). For a 4 member group where only 3 marks were awarded then the multiplication factor is 1.33.