(CS EdX Sessions) Bacchus, Ruth

Title: Rubric Co-construction and Peer Assessment

Presenter: Dr Ruth Bacchus (Lecturer in English)

Co-presenter(s): Joy Wallace

Faculty / Division: FoAE

School / Unit: Social Work and Arts

Session Type: Interactive Discussion

When: Thursday, 18 November 2021 @ 12:15pm – 1:15pm

Where: Zoom meeting link


This presentation explores the implementation of two strategies – student co-construction of rubrics and peer assessment based on those rubrics – that may enhance both the clarity of assessment tasks and student engagement with assessment. The strategies were implemented on two occasions, the first in 2018 and the second in 2020.

In 2018, the students’ responses to the construction of the rubric were mixed, with some quite positive (see Bacchus, Colvin, Knight and Ritter 2020). However, it was apparent that for many, the experience of constructing and using the rubric to plan their assignment (an oral presentation) was marred by the element of peer assessment. This seemed to warrant further investigation, especially of the way the students’ experience of peer assessment could be improved.

At the beginning of 2020, we decided to make several changes. We included more explicit discussion of the rubric, both while it was co-constructed in class and throughout the session. We made the feedback online so it would be more anonymous. Perhaps most importantly, we awarded a small percentage of the students’ total marks for the quality of the feedback they provided on their peers’ presentations. Early in 2020, COVID-19 brought some unintended changes: where the 2018 class had been on-campus, the 2020 class went online after the first two weeks; where the 2018 results were collected in a focus group, the 2020 results were collected online. In addition, the student cohorts differed in size, degree of cohesion, and perhaps in terms of individual personalities.

Both the intended and unintended changes mean there can be neither an exact correspondence nor an exact comparison between the iterations of the strategies; however, they seem to yield interesting contrasts and suggestions for future practice.