PEER'S CONTRIBUTION TO GROUP WORK: WHAT IT MEANS TO STUDENTS
Kingston University (UNITED KINGDOM)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN14 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Conference name: 6th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 7-9 July, 2014
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:Peer assessment has long been exercised in educational settings where students are required to do group work. The literature on peer assessment reveals that educators focus on how to give grades to each member of a team working on a group project as fairly and accurately as possible under the umbrella term, “contribution”. One frequently used instrument for peer assessment is peer evaluation questionnaires. Team members are given “contribution” marks – usually in percentage – by their peers and a peer factor, calculated from these marks, is then used in calculating each member’s final mark. Yet there is still no widely-accepted and published definition of the term “contribution” that is grounded firmly in empirical data. Questions in peer evaluation questionnaires are normally derived from the literature and the questionnaire designers’ (educators’) own experience of what team “contribution” means. But how representative are these questions, of what the term "team contribution”, means to students? For example, a rating of an individual member’s task performance is commonly included in these questionnaires. However, to the students’ eyes task performance might not be as important a contributing factor as one’s participation and enthusiasm in the group work. Furthermore, in an ideal team, members are to make decisions together and accept the outcomes of the decisions made together. To penalise academically weaker members who have participated fully could therefore be considered as unfair and against both the spirit and virtue of teamwork. This paper provides analysis of qualitative data extracted from students’ justification for the ratings of their teammates’ contribution to a group design project in a large first year cohort and puts forward a peer’s contribution evaluation questionnaire from both students and educators’ perspectives.
Keywords: Peer assessment, peer evaluation, group work, teamwork.