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Self and Peer Evaluation in Undergraduate Education: When Promises are Worth Risking the Perils
Unformatted Document Text:  4 goals, motivate individuals to arrive at the most accurate conclusion possible, lead people to favor the elaborate over the cursory mode of thinking and processing of information. Another type of goals, which is said to guide our behavior when we “come to believe what we want to believe because we want to believe it,” (Kunda 2001, 212) is referred to as directional goals. Directional goals motivate to arrive at a particular, if imperfect, conclusion, as soon as individuals stumble upon a semblance of an answer (Kruglanski 1980; Kunda 1999, 237). As other individuals, students with strong accuracy goals will show less bias and more accuracy and consistency in their evaluations because they will be engaged in more careful and elaborate thinking. The accuracy goals can be induced, for instance, by providing the students with criteria for making their judgments about the academic performances of their classmates. Students do not usually acquire the same level of understanding of a subject matter compared to the teacher. This lack of familiarity with the domain of knowledge being evaluated and dearth of experience with judging other people’s work may lead students to rely on different intellectual shortcuts and heuristics when making their judgments. The use of the criteria for evaluation will induce higher order thinking processes (application and analysis), thus, encouraging careful and guided reasoning. Hypothesis I. The reliability of peer assessment improves when students are provided with instruments containing unambiguous criteria for evaluation. When making responses, people are frequently guided by the considerations of social desirability, i.e., they tend to act in ways, which are perceived as acceptable to others. Publicity of judgments and responses may activate the social desirability heuristic: when acting in public, people do and say things, which they believe others approve of. When students make their evaluations non-anonymously, social desirability can lead to inflated peer-evaluations because students may desire to be approved by other students, fear to be deprecated, and expect reciprocation from others. Anonymity usually reduces the effects of social desirability leading to more honest answers and weighted solutions (Crowne and Marlowe, 1960; Joinson 1999). Hypothesis II. Anonymity of evaluating procedure improves the reliability of peer assessment. In the superficial mode of thinking, people rely on different heuristics for making their decisions. In evaluation of the performance of others, individuals often use their own performance as an anchor or a “yardstick” (Kunda 1999, 494) against which they measure the performance of others (Dunning and Cohern 1992; Dunning and Hayes 1996). Using self for judging others can substantially distort our evaluations. The two primary types of self-bias extensively discussed in the literature are self-enhancement and downward comparison (Mabe and West 1982; Groeger and Grande 1996). Self-enhancement is the unreasonably favorable self-appraisal that may be triggered by threats to self-esteem (Brown 1986). The Self-Evaluation Maintenance Model (SEM) assumes that people are motivated to maintain a positive view of the self. The motivation of self-affirmation is particularly strong in Western societies where

Authors: Omelicheva, Mariya.
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goals, motivate individuals to arrive at the most accurate conclusion possible, lead people
to favor the elaborate over the cursory mode of thinking and processing of information.
Another type of goals, which is said to guide our behavior when we “come to believe
what we want to believe because we want to believe it,” (Kunda 2001, 212) is referred to
as directional goals. Directional goals motivate to arrive at a particular, if imperfect,
conclusion, as soon as individuals stumble upon a semblance of an answer (Kruglanski
1980; Kunda 1999, 237).
As other individuals, students with strong accuracy goals will show less bias and
more accuracy and consistency in their evaluations because they will be engaged in more
careful and elaborate thinking. The accuracy goals can be induced, for instance, by
providing the students with criteria for making their judgments about the academic
performances of their classmates. Students do not usually acquire the same level of
understanding of a subject matter compared to the teacher. This lack of familiarity with
the domain of knowledge being evaluated and dearth of experience with judging other
people’s work may lead students to rely on different intellectual shortcuts and heuristics
when making their judgments. The use of the criteria for evaluation will induce higher
order thinking processes (application and analysis), thus, encouraging careful and guided
reasoning.

Hypothesis I. The reliability of peer assessment improves when students are
provided with instruments containing unambiguous criteria for evaluation.

When making responses, people are frequently guided by the considerations of
social desirability, i.e., they tend to act in ways, which are perceived as acceptable to
others. Publicity of judgments and responses may activate the social desirability
heuristic: when acting in public, people do and say things, which they believe others
approve of. When students make their evaluations non-anonymously, social desirability
can lead to inflated peer-evaluations because students may desire to be approved by other
students, fear to be deprecated, and expect reciprocation from others. Anonymity usually
reduces the effects of social desirability leading to more honest answers and weighted
solutions (Crowne and Marlowe, 1960; Joinson 1999).
Hypothesis II. Anonymity of evaluating procedure improves the reliability of
peer assessment.
In the superficial mode of thinking, people rely on different heuristics for making
their decisions. In evaluation of the performance of others, individuals often use their
own performance as an anchor or a “yardstick” (Kunda 1999, 494) against which they
measure the performance of others (Dunning and Cohern 1992; Dunning and Hayes
1996). Using self for judging others can substantially distort our evaluations. The two
primary types of self-bias extensively discussed in the literature are self-enhancement and
downward comparison (Mabe and West 1982; Groeger and Grande 1996).
Self-enhancement is the unreasonably favorable self-appraisal that may be
triggered by threats to self-esteem (Brown 1986). The Self-Evaluation Maintenance
Model (SEM) assumes that people are motivated to maintain a positive view of the self.
The motivation of self-affirmation is particularly strong in Western societies where


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