Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Open Assessment and Blended Learning

The topic of open assessment came up during #blendkit2012 this week, which is quite a fascinating topic. Britt asked if peer review can work in small groups, having seen it in xMOOCs like coursera.

I've written about open assessment before, but not specifically about this, I don't think. I have written some quick thoughts on the coursera peer review system which can be summarized even quicker by saying "hit or miss." In the one course (thus far) where I've opted to do the assessments and review my peers, the reviews were a mix. Some reviews of my work were good, others were lacking, and for some I wondered if they even read (or understood) the rubric! So, while I can see how massive open peer review can be good, the fact that its anonymous means that I can't seek clarification, and there is no apprenticeship into the rubric to make sure everyone gets it (and really understands the asynchronous lectures).

Bringing this back into the blended classroom, I think that peer assessments can, and do, work. When I was a student I had some courses where peer assessment was part of the course. The key to making peer assessment work (from my experience anyway):
  • Everyone must be current on the reading and makes sure they get them
  • Everyone must understand the rubric and the proper application of the rubric
  • Being anonymous is a good thing at times, it allows students to be honest. But, there needs to be a junction box to feed back questions about the feedback so issues can be clarified
  • Finally, there needs to be instructor final approval of the peer grading and assessment. It's not sufficient to have students peer assess because, after all, they are novices. They would be in the course they were not novices. The instructor this has the obligation to be the final arbiter of the grade, and full in assessment feedback that is lacking, and filter out irrelevant or destructive feedback.
Thus, I can see peer assessment really work in a blended classroom, if implemented right, and if the learners are prepared for undertaking this task.

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