Wisdom of crowds? Swarm scoring? Peer-to-peer assessment? Peer assessment honesty?

Last term I had my students check each others weekly quizzes. These quizzes were proctored in the classroom and had 9 questions and took a few minutes to answer and a couple minutes to check. This was beneficial for 2 reasons.

a. Through the process of going over the answers together, students got quick feedback on how they did.

b. The teacher had a quick assessment of how well each student understood the material.

Question: How honestly can we make peer-to-peer subjective checking in larger less controlled systems?

In this case, I am not referring to collaborative projects, team writing, etc, but I am referring to assessment that could be formative or summative.

Assuming the students have a carefully designed rubric to follow and that they are reasonably accurate in using it, how honest will students be in scoring each others’ works? Will they give a higher score than deserved? Will they help out a buddy with a higher score? While a teacher cannot eradicate cheating, what can be done to minimize it?

I know that as an IELTS examiner, I always knew that my scoring could be spot-checked by another examiner and if my scoring was off then I could be in trouble.

Imagine this. A student is given an assignment and has to do 3 things:

a. Produce some English (teacher could assign writing or speaking into an mp3) b. Score one other student’s English production c. Double check another student’s scoring

Students know teacher may or may not do a final spot check on some of the scoring. If the teacher finds the scoring off to an unreasonable degree, the student who scored off would have his own score lowered.


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