Peer-assessment in Group Projects: Is it worth it?

Kennedy, G.J.

    The incorporation of group projects into university computing courses is wide spread. However, there is evidence that students undertaking such projects express concern about the way in which marks awarded for outcomes produced by the group collaboratively are allocated to individuals in of the group. For example, since some group members contribute more or less than others, students feel that awarding the same mark to all members of a group is unfair. To address this problem some tertiary educators employ a strategy called 'peer assessment' as a way of determining how group marks are to be distributed among individuals. Peer assessment in this context refers to any of a variety of approaches where students are required to assess other members of a group on their relative contribution to a project. This paper describes one method of using peer assessment for this purpose and presents a detailed analysis of data collected from a class of 90 students undertaking a system development project at an Australian university. The paper raises the question whether procedures like the one described in the case study are valid and explores the impact of such procedures on the purported objectives of the course. Finally, it addresses the question 'Is it worth it?' Does the effort expended on administering peer assessment result in significantly better assessment?
Cite as: Kennedy, G.J. (2005). Peer-assessment in Group Projects: Is it worth it?. In Proc. Seventh Australasian Computing Education Conference (ACE2005), Newcastle, Australia. CRPIT, 42. Young, A. and Tolhurst, D., Eds. ACS. 59-65.
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