Assessing Teamwork

Peer Feedback as Teamwork Assessment: Using the 360 Peer Feedback Method

Teamwork is a vital capability for students; it prepares them for the challenges and opportunities of the real world. Teaching and assessing teamwork, on the other hand, is challenging. Especially when there are conflicts among teammates. Identifying good work among the team and considering individual contributions is challenging.

One method of teamwork assessment, which mirrors a common process in corporate settings, is the “360 peer feedback.” In a job setting, this typically includes feedback from supervisors (and sometimes even clients!) but in a classroom setting, it’s usually the student team evaluating themselves and each other. Highlighting differences between the self and peer assessment can be a powerful learning tool for students.

The results of this 360 peer feedback can highlight individual student contributions and students who are not pulling their weight. The results can be shared back to students highlighting their performance and adding a real-world component to the evaluation. No one technique is perfect and of course, some students will try to game this method, but with propery survey design and guidance, good peer feedback is a great tool for teamwork assessment.

360 peer feedback also created a feedback loop, (pardon the pun) a process of students collecting, analyzing, and implementing live feedback, and then using those learnings to improve. A feedback loop can help you to monitor the progress and performance of students in their teams and of the teams themselves. It can also help identify sources of conflict.

Step 1: Define Your Team Project

The first step of the feedback loop is to design your team project that aligns with your course objectives and outcomes. Each team does not have to work on a unique project! They can all work independently on a single project prompt if need be. Here are some items to consider when designing your team project:

  • The scope of your project(s)
  • The expected deliverables and deadlines
  • The criteria for grading or assessment
    • This is where Feedback Loop comes in: a 360-peer review score is used for as much as 30% of the grade by some faculty we work with!
  • The size and composition of the teams
    • 5 is a standard for student team sizes.
  • The tools and resources for communication and collaboration.
    • If you are doing experiential learning projets with live clients, we recommend our sister product EduSourced to help with this

Establishing these clear guidelines will give the students proper boundaries to consider when evaluating their teammates and ultimately help you better assess teamwork.

Step 2: Collect feedback

Issue the 360 peer feedback survey at least twice throughout the course: this gives students the chance to demonstrate improvement from the first round of feedback. Feedback can be both qualitative and quantitative. You can use various methods to collect feedback, such as surveys, interviews, focus groups, or online tools like Feedback Loop, which allows you to create and share feedback surveys with your students easily.

The purpose of collecting 360 peer feedback is to understand the perspectives and contributions of each student on the team. Ask questions that are specific and relevant and at least one that is open-ended. This article details how to build survey templates for peer feedback.

Tip: Feedback Loop lets you set each question to releasable or private. Releasable results are included in an anonymized performance report for your students and the responses to private questions are only shared with instructors.

Step 3: Analyze feedback

Analyzing feedback received is easier said than done with dealing with large course rosters. You should look for patterns, themes, gaps, and inconsistencies in the feedback data. When there are material discrepencies among a team’s responses, it may be worth following up with the teammates individually for a fuller picture.

Step 4: Implement feedback

The opportunity to implement feedback is why it is so important to share students’ results back to them. Again, this mimics a real-world scenario common in corporate settings and gives students an opportunity to implement their received feedback.

If a student receives especially poor feedback, you may want to meet with them privately to discuss it and help them work through their peer’s ratings.

By implementing 360 peer feedback, you have a built-in method for teamwork assessment that helps students learn and prepares them for similar experiences in their careers. If you want to learn more about using Feedback Loop as your tool for teamwork assessment, fill out the form below and we will get in touch.

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