Have you ever had your grade suffer because of peer review?
Learning to work with a partner or in a group is crucial because it’s likely you will be a part of a team in your future career. At least in the College of Business, the professors prepare you well by giving you team or partner projects and assignments.
Nothing is more frustrating than receiving the same grade as your group members or having your final grade come down to peer review alone. I encountered a situation with a project partner where I was prepared and had all my work done for weekly discussion assignments, and I thought our discussion went well.
I kept missing points each week and I couldn’t figure out why I never received full credit. I spoke with my professor about my concerns, because our grades were solely based on our partner’s evaluation. He mentioned my partner could be a harsh grader, and changed one of the grades. This is why professors should look over the content and have the final say on our grades.
According to an article by ASCD, “The original cooperative learning movement, energized in the 1970s, emphasized that group work must be designed to feature positive interdependence (each student’s work depends on the others’ work) and individual accountability (individual learning is measured and reported) — methods found to increase student achievement.”
I don’t believe that this encourages student achievement, because from experience, it discourages students when they have to suffer from other students not putting in the work.
Evaluating your peers can be difficult because if a team member did poorly, it’s hard to give them a lower score, even if they deserved it. Either way, that shouldn’t be the only factor in them getting a bad grade overall.
Professors need to remember that not everyone works well in a group setting. How they worked in the group can be a factor of the final grade, but the professor needs to see for themselves the work they have completed and only take the peer review into consideration.
I work hard and complete my work on time to the best of my ability, but that doesn’t mean that your peers will see that the same way. If a professor took the time to view grades on other assignments and see a student succeed in other areas, maybe the group or partner grades more harshly than they need to.
I appreciate it when professors provide space to grade yourself and write what you completed, because it will give another perspective and you can vouch for yourself.
If you are in a position to grade a fellow student, remember to grade fairly. Don’t give them a bad grade just because you didn’t get along, and don’t give them a good grade because you feel bad for docking points. Be ethical when grading your peers and yourself and trust that a professor can make the right determination of the final grade.
Pictured is Alyssa Naples, a fourth-year student at UCCS majoring in environmental sustainability and geography, working on a peer review for her class. Photo by Megan Moen