Formative peer assessment of academic writing between postgraduate students

K. J. Topping, E. F. Smith, I. Swanson, A. Elliot

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    276 Citations (Scopus)


    Reciprocal paired qualitative formative peer assessment of academic writing was undertaken by 12 postgraduate students of educational psychology. Overall, staff and peer assessments showed a very similar balance between positive and negative statements, but this varied according to assessment criterion. However, only half of all detailed formative assessment statements made showed some degree of correspondence between staff and peers. Nevertheless, there was very little evidence of conflict between the views of staff and peers-rather, they focused on different details. Subjective feedback from students indicated that most found the process time consuming, intellectually challenging and socially uncomfortable, but effective in improving the quality of their own subsequent written work and developing other transferable skills. The reliability and validity of this type of peer assessment thus appeared adequate, and the partiality of overlap in detail between staff and peer assessments suggested that the triangulation peer assessment offers is likely to add value. However, caution is indicated regarding the generalisation of this finding. Implications for action are outlined.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)149-169
    Number of pages21
    JournalAssessment & Evaluation in Higher Education
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2000


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