Innovation in Language Learning

Edition 17

Accepted Abstracts

The Effects of Online Peer Assessment on Students’ Writing

Soodeh Eghtesad, University of Tehran (Iran, Islamic Republic of)


In recent years, Online Peer Assessment (OPA) has received significant attention among Language Teaching researchers and practitioners, as this student-centered type of assessment increases students’ responsibility and autonomy, contributes to the building of knowledge and reflective learning, (Rosa et al., 2016)[1], promotes a better understanding of course content, and helps students comprehend assessment criteria. OPA acts as “effective supplement to instructors’ feedback, and is considered as one of the most important forms of feedback in language teaching contexts (Gupta et al., 2019)[2]; it provides a structured learning process for students, enhances collaborative learning, and increases student-student, student-teacher, and student-content interactions (Rosa, Coutinho and Flores, 2016)[1]. This paper focuses on the use of online peer assessment in Master’s degree Language Teaching seminars at the University of Tehran during the mandatory implementation of virtual learning due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Thirty master’s students participated in regular  assessment of their peers’ bi-weekly course summary/reflection, called Journals, in two consecutive master’s degree seminars (32 weeks). Journals were written and assessed online on Google Documents© and shared with the course instructor who monitored peers’ feedback and corrections. Students’ perceptions and attitude toward the effectiveness of peer assessment for language learning as well as assessment competency were evaluated before and after the seminars through an online questionnaire, which consisted of twenty-two Likert-based items. In addition, a content analysis of corrections/feedback provided in five hundred journal entries was performed to understand the nature of corrections/feedback (focus on linguistic correction, course content relevance, personal reflection, and/or improvement suggestions). Findings indicate that students’ attitude changed significantly from a rather negative/hesitant attitude at the beginning, to a rather positive/enthusiastic one at the end of the two-semester period, as they gained more confidence in the act of peer assessment and perceived it as a complementary component of their learning. In addition, the content analysis of the feedback provided by peers revealed that students’ feedback was centered on linguistic corrections (more than 4000 instances of linguistic corrections), while content relevance and personal reflection received the least amount of attention due to students’ feeling of incompetency in judging the pertinence of their peers’ summarized course content and reflective thinking. These results suggest that students feel more competent in correcting objective linguistic features, but less competent and less confident in providing subjective evaluations of content summary, personal reflection of task completion.

Keywords: Online Peer assessment, Google Documents, Language Teaching Seminars

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