Teacher Tips for using Peer Grading in the Classroom

Peer critiques and peer grading provide the teacher the ability to delegate responsibility to their students, and to force them to gain an appreciation for the marking process. Through peer critiques and peer grading, if done effectively in the classroom, the students will feel as though they have a say in the grades they are given, and can feel as though there is no bias towards some students, as is the case when dealing with the hidden agenda.

The effective use of peer critiques and peer grading in the classroom involves the teacher determining just how little or how much maturity his or her students possess, and then allows them just that much involvement. Giving the students added responsibility teaches them valuable lessons, and gives them a sense of ownership over their education.

Perhaps the biggest obstacle faced with peer critiques and peer grading are with the lack of maturity shown by some students. Some students will not be a proactive member of the peer grading, and will more or less follow along with how their friends marked something. This needs to be monitored closely under the scrutinizing eye of the teacher.

Peer grading requires a great deal of mutual respect, and this is easily fostered by the teacher. If there is an honest sense of community in the classroom, then peer critiques can openly thrive and be a vital part of daily academia. All effectiveness is ultimately at the hands of the teacher, and mutual respect is a true and honest reflection of leadership. Set the proper examples, and everything will fall into place perfectly.

The use of peers to help evaluate student work can be effective, but it must be done in a proper manner. Peer critiques and peer grading are wonderful teaching tools that can give the students some feeling of ownership over the marking scheme. As a teacher, you must figure out how to have your students evaluate their peers in an effective manner.

One of the main keys to success is the implementation of specific rubrics and checklists for the students to follow as they mark. If the student has a checklist in front of them, they are more likely to mark accordingly, rather than if they were left to their own devices. At first, as you begin to explore the option of peer critique and grading, keep it very simple. On the checklist, for example, may be just one area for them to judge.

As every student reads another student’s work, they can simply be looking for the total number of spelling mistakes. On the checklist, they can then assign a mark according to how many mistakes their were. If a student receives a perfect mark for having two or fewer mistakes, then the guideline is straight forward, and can easily be adhered to by all. Just using one criteria to grade is a safe way to start, and of course you will need to check them over for mistakes.

Prior to peer grading and critiquing, inform your classroom that they will be marking, but if they make a mistake, granting some leniency to a friend, then they will lose any marks that they conveniently missed while marking the other work. At all times, there should be anonymity.

A student will tend to critique in a fairer fashion if they do not know whose work they are grading. Friends will not have any peer pressures placed upon them to bump up their mark. This is a crucial step in eliminating potential problems.

A teacher should model the proper expectations in front of the whole classroom. On the board, or on an overhead, the teacher should have a model example from all different levels of grade. Going through the work one sentence at a time to look for mistakes will show the rest of the class just what is intended by this exercise.

At first, baby steps should be taken as a precautionary method when trying to have peers critique or grade work. Keep it simple, and make sure to only have them grade one aspect of an assignment. In due time, increase their level of expectation to two, three, and so forth, until they are competently able to peer critique and peer grade with very little room for error.

Peers love to grade their fellow classmates mostly due to the fact that they will get their test marks back quicker, or their book report marks. No matter the case, peer evaluation is an effective teaching tool to use.