February 5, 2021

Hello CNS Instructors,

I am feeling a bit more back in the swing with the third week of the semester under my belt.  I really did miss being in class with student working through tricky concepts and seeing their minds work through problems.  I feel like I am drawing energy from the students learning new things.

For this week’s teaching tip, I share a couple of Faculty Focus (Magna Publications) articles on peer assessment of student group participation and performance provided to me by Gwen Gorzelsky, Director of TILT.  Students cannot become proficient in working in a team just by doing it.  Students require formative feedback.  Summative assessment can help the instructor in grading, but it does not foster improvement in student performance.  Anson and Goodman developed an online peer assessment that provides anonymous task-focused feedback to group members during the project.  A follow-up activity allows group members to discuss the feedback and decide how issues will be resolved.  For more details see Anson, R. and Goodman, J.A. (2014) J. Education for Business, 89 (1), 27-34.  Diane Baker conducted a meta-study (Baker, D.F., 2008 J. Management Education, 32 (2), 183-209) on peer feedback forms and developed a list of eight key attributes for student-student assessments:

·       Attended group meetings on time and did not leave early

·       Was dependable, as in met deadlines

·       Submitted quality work or made high-quality contributions to the group

·       Completed a fair share of the group’s work

·       Cooperated and communicated with other group members, sharing information and listening

·       Helped resolve interpersonal or group conflict

·       Made cognitive contributions using knowledge and skills to help the group accomplish its goals

·       Helped establish group goals and monitored progress as the group worked to achieve them

The article includes two validated example peer evaluation instruments, one long and one short.  Baker’s article discusses the use of peer assessment in grading and how to encourage students to provide critical and constructive feedback.

Here are links to the two Faculty Focus articles:

 In addition to this week’s tip, I wanted to make you aware of two sets of events occurring this spring:

TILT Spring Webinars on asset-based instructional approaches and creating equitable and affirming learning environments.

The Reinvention Collaborative RC Town Hall on academic honor and integrity.

All the best, Paul

Paul Laybourn (he/him/his)

Professor, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Director, W2R S-STEM Program
Co-Director, NoCo B2B Program
Co-Director, REU Site in Molecular Biosciences
Colorado State University