Leveraging the Power of Formative Feedback: Using self- and peer assessment to promote meaningful student engagement

Assessment Learning Network, April 8, 2022

The theme for the 2021-22 Assessment Learning Network is leveraging assessment to achieve equitable access and outcomes for all students through an emphasis on assessment practices most relevant to students’ efforts to increase their own learning.

Many educators are interested in learning more about the power of formative feedback via self- and peer assessment. This interest stems from the fact that quality self- and peer assessment have many lasting benefits. Students who can accurately peer assess are more likely to demonstrate improved academic performance across different grade levels and subject areas (Harris & Brown, 2013) and to take greater responsibility for their own learning (Cyboran, 2006). Self- and peer assessment helps initiate a cycle of motivation and engagement in which students become more proficient with their skills, more competent in their learning, and more confident in their ability to self- and peer assess. 

Self- and peer assessment also promotes student success by helping them accurately reflect on their own performance as they learn. Students see how well they are doing and understand what they need to do to improve their performance or to achieve the learning target. These students can also reflect on the work of peers, and if asked, can provide useful feedback to peers that will assist them as well. Therefore, self- and peer assessment are important for students’ self-directed learning and study skills, which in turn motivates them to engage more deeply in their own learning. And yet, despite the interest, enthusiasm, and evidence of effectiveness, self- and peer assessment are not common features of most classrooms.  

With this framing context in mind, this ALN session engages researchers, assessment experts, and practitioners in exploring the benefits and challenges of engaging students as resources for themselves and each other through self- and peer assessment. The presenters of this ALN session will analyze research, highlight professional learning resources, and provide classroom examples of self- and peer assessment that enable students to demonstrate increased agency in their learning. Specifically, presenters will use the following guiding questions to focus the presentation: 

Questions Framing this Session 

  1. What are the key features of self- and peer assessment? 
  2. What does research suggest about the impact of self- and peer assessment? 
  3. What is the role of self- and peer assessment in the formative assessment process?  
  4. What does evidence suggest about the prevalence of self- and peer assessment in classrooms?  
  5. What classroom conditions must be present in order for self- and peer assessment to be successful and how do teachers promote these conditions? 
Event Resources

Presenter: John Lane

Presenter: Tara Kintz

Presenter: Ellen Vorenkamp

Ellen Vorenkamp currently serves as an Assessment Consultant at Wayne RESA, where she provides consulting and presentation services to Wayne County schools and districts on the topics of Assessment Development, Balanced Assessment Systems, Formative Assessment Process and Use of Evidence to Impact Student Learning. She is the owner of MKJ Educational Consulting, LLC, which provides professional learning opportunities and consulting services to schools and districts outside Wayne County. She also serves as an adjunct professor at Concordia University.  Ellen earned a Bachelor of Science degree in secondary education from Baylor University, a Master of Arts degree in curriculum from Lesley University, and an Education Specialist and Doctoral degree in educational leadership from Eastern Michigan University.

Presenter: Kristy Walter

Kristy is a districtwide formative assessment coach who specializes in early literacy and mathematics and k-8 instruction. She is Corunna Public School district's early literacy, mathematics, and instruction coach. Kristy utilizes the skills and philosophies of Cognitive Coaching, Explicit Instruction, and Formative Assessment. She also serves as the K-8 assessment coordinator and a coach lead for the MDE's FAME project.

Presenter: Kelly Rowe

Presenter: Robyn Lentz

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