How Often Should You Do Peer Evaluations?
My experience with peer feedback surveys began with EduSourced, where we observed it was commonly done once, usually at the end of a project, as a graded assignment for teamwork-based courses. We built an integrated “360 peer evaluation feature” in EduSourced so students could benefit from seeing an anonymized report of their own performance, making the peer review an active learning exercise and not just another graded assignment. This performance report was so popular with students that we started seeing many of our schools do peer evaluations more than once per semester and today, two to three instances is common. This paper, by Wilhelm Friess and Andrew Goupee, titled Using Continuous Peer Evaluation in Team-Based Engineering Capstone Projects: A Case Study gives another reason to do continuous peer feedback: it has a positive impact on student grades when done on a weekly basis.
This study shows that this method of continuous peer feedback (also known as peer evaluations or peer surveys) allows for timely adjustments and rewards high-performing students, aligning with industry practice. The method also promises professional communication and critical feedback skills. The study suggests continuous peer evaluation is a useful tool for assessing individual contributions in team-based projects, helping address the eternal “free rider” issue with teamwork-based learning.
What are the Drawbacks of Continuous Peer Feedback?
There are some challenges, of course. Some students may have concerns on the tabulation and structure of the process. We suspect this issue comes up when peer review is done manually, rather than systematically in a tool like Feedback Loop where this is much less room for error and the results can even be made transparent to students. Another issue identified here is that some students struggle with openly discussing their peers’ performance during team meetings. That said, the study shows students generally agree with the results and that peer feedback is representative of their effort in the team, and that there is a benefit to learning how to communicate professionally and handle constructive criticism in a team environment.
In conclusion, the study suggests continuous (weekly) peer evaluation is a valuable tool for assessing individual contributions for engineering capstone where it was measured by the authors. Given that there is no structural difference to peer evaluation across learning disciplines, we can reasonably expect this success to translate beyond engineering education. Promoting professional communication and critical feedback skills goes beyond a given discipline and prepares students for the workforce.
Using a Tool to Facilitate Continuous Peer Feedback
Feedback Loop is designed to be easy to use for sending surveys and for reviewing results and (optionally) sharing performance reports with your students so easily, you can even do it weekly if you choose! for more information, schedule a demo below.