Co-evaluation: what is it, characteristics, advantages and disadvantages?
What is co-evaluation and how is it used in schools? Let's see how it is used.
Evaluation is a necessary process in any educational process. Knowing to what degree students have acquired the knowledge presented in class is essential to know how efficient learning is being.
However, it is not always the teacher who can evaluate. Students can participate in this process, both by self-evaluating, i.e., evaluating their own work, and by co-evaluating, i.e., evaluating what their classmates have done.
In the following we will focus on co-evaluationThe main characteristics, how it should be applied, advantages, difficulties and an example.
What is co-assessment?
Co-evaluation consists, fundamentally, in that the evaluation of students' work is carried out by the students themselves, observing, analyzing and assessing the work of their classmates.. This is a peer-to-peer process, based on predefined criteria, usually suggested by the teacher, which will be used to evaluate the performance and quality of classmates, in order to understand whether they have acquired the learning expected of them.
All students fulfill two roles simultaneously. On the one hand there is the role of being evaluated with their own work, in which they have to demonstrate that they have acquired the theoretical knowledge exposed in class; and on the other hand there is the role of evaluators, applying the practical knowledge taught in the correction session, knowing how to use a permutation or rubric and trying to put aside the feelings they may have towards the student they are evaluating in order to make a correction as objective as possible.
Characteristics of this method of evaluation
There are several characteristics that we can highlight about co-evaluation, which are summarized here.
1. Used in collaborative work
Co-evaluation is a tool that is usually used in collaborative work, i.e. work done in a group.. One or all the members of the group evaluate the work of the others, how they have helped in the realization of the work, if they have demonstrated to possess the knowledge that was expected of them, if there has been any problem...
2. Used in individual work
Co-evaluation can also be used in individual work. Here the situation is similar to the role of the teacher analyzing the work of his students, except that each student only corrects the work of one classmate, not all of them.not all of them.
3. Student plays the role of the evaluated and evaluator.
Especially in individual work, the learner is both evaluator and evaluated simultaneously. He is an evaluator because he has also done a piece of work and is being evaluated by another student, and he is an evaluator because he is evaluating another student's work.
Knowing this, the learner tends to give constructive criticism to his classmate, since he understands that in the same way he has done the work of another learner.He understands that just as he would not like to be told the things he has done wrong in a bad way, he should not say them that way either. Mutually beneficial feedback is encouraged.
4. Controlling emotions
This tool helps to better understand how a correction should be made, as well as to identify one's own and others' mistakes, which allows one to be to be more aware of the extent to which the content explained in class has been mastered.
However, in addition to this, the affective capacities of the students are enhanced, since, when given a task that implies high responsibility, the student is motivated and controls his emotionality, trying to be as objective as possible and avoiding that any bias towards the person who evaluates may cause him to give an inappropriate correction.
5. Saving time
Having the students themselves correct the work of their classmates is a great time saver for the teacher, since does not have to correct all the work of the 20-30 students in the class..
Aspects to keep in mind.
Co-evaluation is a useful tool but it is not always possible to apply it. It is not recommended to apply it at the beginning of the school year or at the beginning of a class topic.The main reason for this is that the students do not have any knowledge that can be evaluated and are not expected to do the work well, nor do they know what they have to correct. For this to work, first the subject to be evaluated must be explained, then the teacher must explain to the students that they will be evaluated among peers and, finally, give them the guidelines on how to do it.
It should be insisted to the students that it is not simply that they see the mistakes that their classmates may have made, but that they think that the work they themselves do may fall into the hands of a more or less strict classmate. Everyone should be as objective as possible, but they should also do their work as well as possible, since it is not the teacher who evaluates, but someone they do not know to what extent they may consider an error or inappropriateness in how they have answered an exercise.
During the explanation that they are going to evaluate each other's work, the teacher must to make students aware that when giving feedback, they should avoid being unpleasant or making inappropriate comments.. It is about learning by testing one's own knowledge and identifying to what extent others have mastered it or not, it should not become a personal attack or a strategy to ruin the term of someone we dislike. Constructive comments should be made.
Although some of the advantages of the application of co-assessment have been suggested in the section on characteristics, we will now look at the main advantages of co-assessment, the following are the main advantages of this tool.
- They learn to evaluate the evaluation processes and the performance of their peers.
- Responsibility is encouraged.
- They learn the difficulty involved in an evaluation.
- Collaborative work is encouraged.
- They develop analysis skills.
- It is an opportunity to share learning strategies together.
While co-assessment is a very useful tool, it also has its disadvantages. The reason why most teachers prefer to use traditional assessment, i.e., grading all assignments themselves, is that it is a much more standardized process. In addition, it is difficult to trust students to it is difficult to trust students to correct objectively and adequately, as they do not always have the necessary skills to do so.In addition, it is difficult to trust students to correct objectively and adequately, since they do not always have the necessary knowledge and experience, and there can always be interpersonal conflicts in the classroom.
Instruments for co-assessment
Normally, when a co-evaluation exercise is introduced in class, the teacher explains how to evaluate the work of other classmates, and distributes some document that allows standardizing the correction.. This document can be a rubric or an estimation scale, in which it is noted whether the classmate's work meets different criteria. In them there are a series of statements accompanied by levels or values which, if fulfilled, different scores are given to the work that has been received.
Usually, the subject or content to be evaluated is indicated in the heading of the rating scale and, next to it, the name of the student being evaluated is placed in a box. In the first column the aspects to be evaluated are written in the form of statements (e.g., "Your work lacks spelling mistakes") and in the following columns the levels of achievement are integrated (e.g., always - sometimes - never).
Regardless of the topic or aspect being evaluated, it is common to place at the end of the rubric or the rating scale a box that serves as a section for suggestions, aspects to improve or observations. There, if the evaluator considers so, comments will be written as feedback to the student so that he/she can think about those mistakes he/she may have made and learn from them.
Co-evaluation is a very useful tool in education. Among its main advantages is that it allows students to participate in the learning process, being aware of what knowledge is expected of them and knowing how to identify what they have acquired. It is also a tool that allows to break with the traditional teacher-student evaluation, saving time for the teacher and giving practical experience to their students.
As long as the teacher has given guidelines on how to do it, has made sure that the content to be evaluated has been previously taught and trusts that his students will evaluate their peers in an honest and fair way, it becomes a truly useful and profitable tool. On the other hand, if the student body is not committed or mature enough to distinguish between the personal and the academic, it becomes wasted time.
- Valenzuela, J.R. (2007). Evaluaciones del Aprendizaje en la educación a distancia; Prácticas comunes y usos de los recursos tecnológicos.
- Díaz B.. F. (1993). Methodological approaches to curriculum design: towards an integral proposal. Technology in educational communication journal. Núm 21.
(Updated at Mar 28 / 2023)