What is peer evaluation?
In the case of peer review, you receive the opportunity to learn from others. You will take a look at the work of a fellow student and you will then be asked to review that work in an objective and constructive way. Review the work honestly and fairly as you would like to be treated yourself as well. Peer review is the perfect opportunity to learn about the strengths and weaknesses of your peers. The goal of this work form is not to punish or reward others but to learn to reflect critically on your own work by looking at the work of peers. By doing this, you can improve the work of your peers but also your own work.
What is the goal?
The goal is not to divide scores between overachievers and underachievers but to improve your group work overall. You get the opportunity to improve the quality of the group work but also to perfect your own part in it. The idea is that everybody can achieve a higher level by open and clear communication. This is of course only possible if you learn how to give honest and constructive feedback to others and reflect on how you deal with feedback yourself. Both in the business and in the academic world, this skill is vital.
How to prepare yourself?
Consider and discuss the assessment criteria in group at the start of the project. Be honest: share your strengths and weaknesses with the group and discuss what your expectations are. To avoid surprises, you can also have a look at the importance of the peer assessment in the final result of your group work.
How to deal with it?
If there is an intermediate peer assessment, see it as a possible wake-up call but also as an opportunity to change the direction you are going into and a moment to find new energy. Make sure to discuss the outcome of this intermediate assessment with each other. Do you agree with the feedback you received and do you know how to apply it? Is the feedback in line with what you expected or did you have no idea that your group members appreciated something or were annoyed about something else? Did you manage to assess your peers as honestly and objectively as possible? If you listen to yourself and to each other with no taboo, you can reach the next level with your project, final result and your overall skills with intermediate assessment.
In any case, try to avoid a situation in which the final assessment comes as a surprise. Give each other the opportunity to address problems in time and make use of each others’ qualities. Even though the completion of the peer assessment might be voluntary, it’s a good idea to use this opportunity to obtain better results and to learn how to deal with feedback.