Logo Utrecht University

Blackboard Support

Self and Peer Assessments

Self and Peer Assessment Introduction

The Blackboard Self and Peer Assessment tool has been developed to support students in their analytical skills, critical thinking and understanding of the course material. Assessing the work of fellow students (Peer Assessment) on the basis of pre-determined criteria enables constructive feedback. It also offers students who are being assessed insight into their skills and understanding of the course material. The online environment is ideal for sharing this kind of feedback. The Self and Peer Assessment tool is entirely separate from the Test, Survey and Pools tool used for creating tests.

NB: Be aware that using this tool requires some preparation time!

How does the tool work? 

The tool is designed for two purposes: to make students aware of how well they understand the course material (Self-Assessment) and to teach them how to critically analyse the work of peers (Peer Assessment). The latter is done by having a student assess a fellow student’s answer on the basis of pre-determined criteria and possibly a model reply from the instructor, and giving targeted feedback. The effectiveness of the tool is reinforced if good questions and criteria have been drawn up. These questions can be simple or complex.

Sample question:

  • Explain why Napoleon’s armies were defeated at the Battle of Waterloo.

Sample criteria:

  • Does the response place the issue within the broader context of the subject?
  • Is the response well organised and clearly laid out?

Model answer:

  • Napoleon made strategic miscalculations, such as 1)…, 2)…, 3)…

Self and Peer Assessment workflow

Step 1: The instructor draws up questions for the Self-Assessment (designed to test knowledge and understanding of the course material).

Step 2: The instructor determines the assessment criteria for each question, and possibly a model answer, to help fellow students in assessing and providing feedback (Peer Assessment).

Step 3: The submission period for the Self-Assessment starts and ends.

Step 4: Once the submission period for the Self-Assessment has ended, the submission period for the Peer Assessments starts. Only students who have submitted partial or complete assignments, will be divided to the other students to review the assignments.

General tool options: 

  • Assessing text, images and digital information on the basis of a set of assessment criteria.
  • All assessment questions are open questions – there are no other types of questions.
  • Previewing the assessment and submissions.
  • A student’s work may be assessed by several fellow students.
  • Self and Peer Assessments may be scheduled with a timeframe for submission and assessment.
  • Self and Peer Assessments may be carried out anonymously (to be determined by the instructor). This may contribute to a fairer and more honest testing and assessment process.

Limitations of the tool:

  • The assessment period should always take place after the submission period of the self-assessment.
  • It is not possible to add students to assessment groups. You can only determine the number of Peer Assessments that a student will have to perform. Blackboard determines which students will do which assessment. Only students who have submitted partial or complete assignments, will be divided to the other students to review the assignments.
  • Deadlines for Self and Peer Assessments cannot be changed once they have expired.
  • There is no flexibility to allow students to submit their Self-Assessments after the deadline has expired and Peer Assessment has begun.