P2P Grading: Assessing Globally

For some courses on iversity, it’s exam time! For instance, over the holiday break, Prof. Anja Mihr will ask her students to solve tasks in her Public Privacy course, and as course users will soon find out, she will introduce the peer-to-peer (P2P) assessment format. So, what is this P2P thing? Sceptical? Well, let’s explain.

As its own chapter at the end of a course and/or while the course runs, exams can come in 3 forms depending on what the professor decides is best: multiple choice/single answer, open answer or P2P. The P2P format allows for students to exchange knowledge with each other, while also making it possible to assess hundreds of thousands of students in a short period of time. The P2P is supposed to be an incentive to participate and boost your knowledge, because as we all know from our school and university times: You’re only good at things that you really had to work through by yourself. So this is how it works:

Submit your answer – and keep the deadline in mind!

First of all, you will be asked to answer a question or solve a problem. Once you have confirmed the start of the exam, you must submit your answers within a limited timeframe indicated in minutes. If you fail to submit your answers or miss the deadline, this will result in a failed exam. Once started, the exam cannot be paused for any reason, including internet connection problems. The exam will continue to run even if you close the browser window. The reason for these strict conditions is simple: We have to ensure equal and fair exam conditions for everyone. Given the large number of course participants, it is impossible to make individual exceptions. So be sure to take note of the exam’s timeframe (and time zone) and keep an eye on the timer after you begin. 

Reviewing your peers’ answers

After completing and submitting your exam, you will be asked to take part in the peer review. You will get an email notification when the review process starts. Then you can start to assess and grade seven of your fellow students’ exams. Your professor will provide you with criteria for the assessment: a scoring scale and corresponding scoring criteria. 

One example: Say your professor suggests a scoring scale from 0 to 5, with 0 being the lowest and 5 being the highest score you can give. Suppose the task given by your professor was to submit photos and give examples. A scoring system might appear as follows:

0 = student did not upload a photo or give examples

2 = student uploaded a photo and gave 2 examples

4 = student uploaded a photo and gave 4 examples

These guidelines will help you make a fair judgement and also ensure that everyone of your fellow students are treated equally. To make things even easier, the scoring criteria will be visible to you while you score each of your colleagues’ answers. In some cases, you will also be asked to give comments and feedback. Please keep in mind: There is also a deadline for reviewing all seven exams!

Lots of learning and a personal final grade

The work you invested will pay off: You will have learned about your fellow students’ approaches to solving a task and you’ll be surprised by how many different ways there are to tackle a scientific question. In addition, you get the reward you deserve: your final grade. You will receive an email notifying you of your results after the peer reviewing process has closed. 

It’s as easy as that. Good luck to all who still have to take their exams! Congratulations to all those who finished! And finally, to everyone, remember to have fun while learning!

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