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Making Assessment Matter: Changing Cultures, Improving Teaching, and Transforming Departments
Unformatted Document Text:  Deardorff and Folger 12 assessment programs (1999). For many faculty, a collective interest in teaching and student learning might create a common motivation and language. For other faculty, a shared professional goal or objective can serve the same purpose. While many classroom pedagogies might provide this bridge, the example of peer evaluation is used to demonstrate how grassroots assessment can provide departmental feedback. Peer evaluation requires students to evaluate the work of their colleagues according to previously established guidelines. This pedagogy engages students in the process of evaluation and grading, motivates them as writers and scholars because audiences other than their professor will be assessing their work, and ideally forces them to be more deliberate in the construction of the outcome being evaluated. While the concept of peer-review of scholarly work long has been accepted by academia, its application to students’ learning has been limited. The use of peer critiques in the teaching of writing might be the most familiar approach (Dossin 2003); new technology such as Blackboard has enhanced strategies involving students in the evaluation of their peers’ work. Concerns regarding self and peer evaluation have centered on issues of privacy and the technique’s ability to provide statistical validity and reliability in the assessment of classroom assignments (Omelicheva 2004). Yet, scholars have emphasized its ability to engage students, reinforce classroom values, and monitor student improvement. Team-based learning approaches have also found peer-evaluation techniques invaluable for holding free riders accountable and to involve students in assessing outcomes of their own work (Michaelson, Bauman, and Fink 2002). In this departmental hypothetical, a political science professor at a medium-sized state university uses peer evaluation initially as a means of engaging students in their own learning process (Deardorff 2005). This technique also allows the faculty member to demonstrate how personal goals are met in the classroom. Because of promotion and tenure evaluations, post-tenure reviews, accreditation studies, as well as legislature and Board of Trustees’ demands, many universities require some form of annual performance review. Peer evaluation can be an easy method for faculty to document what they are teaching in the classroom; all faculty share the concern of how to meet this documentation requirement. At this institution for example, the performance indicators require a demonstration that the professor “utilizes creative and piloted teaching methods/skills (documentation required).” The use of peer evaluation in the classroom, easily documented by the matrices developed by the faculty member or the

Authors: Deardorff, Michelle. and Folger, Paul.
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Deardorff and Folger 12
assessment programs (1999). For many faculty, a collective interest in teaching and student learning
might create a common motivation and language. For other faculty, a shared professional goal or
objective can serve the same purpose. While many classroom pedagogies might provide this bridge, the
example of peer evaluation is used to demonstrate how grassroots assessment can provide departmental
feedback.
Peer evaluation requires students to evaluate the work of their colleagues according to previously
established guidelines. This pedagogy engages students in the process of evaluation and grading,
motivates them as writers and scholars because audiences other than their professor will be assessing
their work, and ideally forces them to be more deliberate in the construction of the outcome being
evaluated. While the concept of peer-review of scholarly work long has been accepted by academia, its
application to students’ learning has been limited. The use of peer critiques in the teaching of writing
might be the most familiar approach (Dossin 2003); new technology such as Blackboard has enhanced
strategies involving students in the evaluation of their peers’ work. Concerns regarding self and peer
evaluation have centered on issues of privacy and the technique’s ability to provide statistical validity and
reliability in the assessment of classroom assignments (Omelicheva 2004). Yet, scholars have
emphasized its ability to engage students, reinforce classroom values, and monitor student improvement.
Team-based learning approaches have also found peer-evaluation techniques invaluable for holding free
riders accountable and to involve students in assessing outcomes of their own work (Michaelson,
Bauman, and Fink 2002).
In this departmental hypothetical, a political science professor at a medium-sized state university
uses peer evaluation initially as a means of engaging students in their own learning process (Deardorff
2005). This technique also allows the faculty member to demonstrate how personal goals are met in the
classroom. Because of promotion and tenure evaluations, post-tenure reviews, accreditation studies, as
well as legislature and Board of Trustees’ demands, many universities require some form of annual
performance review. Peer evaluation can be an easy method for faculty to document what they are
teaching in the classroom; all faculty
share the concern of how to meet this documentation requirement.
At this institution for example, the performance indicators require a demonstration that the professor
“utilizes creative and piloted teaching methods/skills (documentation required).” The use of peer
evaluation in the classroom, easily documented by the matrices developed by the faculty member or the


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