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Self- and Peer Assessment using Turnitin in SEMS: Cengiz Turkoglu

August 1, 2012 5 comments

Cengiz Turkoglu, a Senior Lecturer in the School of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences, principally teaches final-year undergraduate students and one of the MSc Aviation Management modules, with class sizes usually not exceeding 20 students. Each of his modules uses a similar assessment pattern comprising one coursework plus an examination. For the coursework component, he utilizes the self-review and peer review functions of Turnitin as part of the assessment.

The coursework has an initial deadline of a minimum of 6-8 weeks into the module to allow sufficient time for students to conduct research and write their essays. Once the students have submitted their paper, Turnitin’s PeerMark assignment function allows them to be either paired or randomly allocated another paper, which they are then required to peer-review. Given that there is always a range of standards represented by the students and their papers, one dilemma that Cengiz has faced concerns whether to pair the students randomly or to attempt to group them according to their standard. He never pairs them such that two students are asked to review one another’s papers.

The feedback provided by each student in peer review is subsequently made available to the original author – and the students are made aware at the time of writing that their comments will be released in this manner. At the same time, each author is asked to take a self-assessment exercise that follows exactly the same format as the peer review. As the process is conducted entirely online using Turnitin, it is completely paperless, which reduces the administrative workload and makes for a more sustainable structure.

For Cengiz, self- and peer review are only valuable if they lead somewhere in terms of the assessment process. With that in mind, once the feedback has been exchanged between students, Cengiz gives them a week to undertake further revisions to their original submission should they wish to do so. He asks that they do not rewrite their paper substantively, but confine themselves to minor amendments. Plagiarism of the peer-review feedback is not an issue because all the material is traceable and hence can be attributed. Only after the revised submission has been received does Cengiz mark the work summatively using GradeMark and provide his own feedback.

Detailed assessment criteria are provided, with the marking criteria broken down into six different categories each with their own weighting, of which one category is self- and peer review (worth 10% of the mark). The students are therefore aware from the outset that it is an integral part of the assessment, and its summative nature encourages them to engage fully with the process, since Cengiz’s experience is that students can be very assessment-driven. The questions they are asked for the self- and peer reviews correspond to the other assessment categories, so they judge each other’s paper, and their own, in exactly the same way as the examiner.

Cengiz has found this to be a very valuable exercise. It sets the students thinking about how to frame feedback, offering helpful advice to the author rather than simply giving praise or criticism. It also encourages them to consider issues such as whether the author understood the question and maintained focus, how well they researched the subject, and how coherent the arguments they presented were, based on their own reasoning or factual information they identified during their research. (The criteria matrix used by Cengiz is shown below; this is also entered as the rubric in Turnitin.) While students are variable in their engagement with the process, Cengiz notes that the best self-reviews and peer reviews recognize areas where the submission can be improved.

Turnitin screenshot - criteria matrix

Cengiz argues that the value of this assessment model is that it provides a simulation of real-life scenarios. In safety-critical industries such as aviation, for example, maintenance engineers are expected to inspect each others’ work on a regular basis, and the peer review process is widely used particularly by design engineers. In addition, all engineers should be expected to reflect upon, and to strive to improve, their own performance in order continually to develop themselves professionally. They may not necessarily always receive the most favourable advice from their own peers, so engineering students are prepared effectively for the profession through nurturing skills such as being able to evaluate the feedback they receive and to make their own judgement when taking decisions.

Cengiz justifies equalizing the weightings between the coursework and examination (originally weighted at 30% and 70% respectively) by citing the introduction of the requirements for self-assessment and peer review as a reason to give greater weighting to the coursework component. He strongly believes that examination is not the only suitable assessment method for his modules as the nature of the topics he teaches is such that they require understanding and the ability to apply this knowledge to real-life scenarios, rather than merely memorising content from text books or course notes. After studying on the Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice programme delivered by the Learning Development Centre at City University London, Cengiz has become an advocate of self-directed and reflective learning, and he encourages his students to become more critically self-reflexive so that they can learn from their own experiences.

If you would like to know more about this assessment model, Cengiz is happy to be contacted by e-mail: cengiz.turkoglu.1@city.ac.uk.

Christopher Wiley and Cengiz Turkoglu

GradeMark from the Staff Perspective

August 24, 2011 Leave a comment

QuickMark Template

I heard a great presentation from Cath Ellis from University of Huddersfield on introducing an e-submission policy and using Turnitin’s online marking tool GradeMark as part of the Maximising Turnitin session in June. Prior to using GradeMark, Cath felt that her feedback was inconsistent. For the first five essays she might have corrected a mistake and given feedback on how to avoid this issue, but found she was giving less feedback as she progressed through scripts. It is important to point out that Cath’s previous marking was done using handwritten comments rather than typed feedback. Cath said that her feedback on common areas for development and common strengths is consistent using GradeMark. She has been able to automate a lot of the operational feedback on how to write using QuickMarks, which are standard feedback annotations that can be re-used. Cath said that by automating the operational feedback using QuickMarks she can now concentrate on providing feedback on the content. Her students have said that they are finding the feedback comprehensive and clearer than previous handwritten comments.

Cath has done some great diagnostic work using GradeMark reports where she has analysed QuickMarks to identify common areas for development. This resulted in a peer workshop where students who scored well in a particular area facilitated a workshop for students who were having difficulty. Analysing grades for each of the criteria in GradeMark rubrics allowed the teaching team to identify areas for development and change how this area was taught in subsequent years.

Check out Cathellis13.blogspot.com for 4 top tips on using GradeMark that has led to 3-4 minute less marking time per script. See also Cath’s Prezi on using GradeMark and the new work flows enabled by the e-submission policy.

It is worth noting that City now has a full licence for GradeMark which is accessible through the Turnitin assignment activity in Moodle. We have reported issues of slowness using GradeMark, to Turnitin, during busy assignment times. If you are planning on using GradeMark, do work closely with your local support teams and the LDC and keep us informed of any performance issues so that we can liaise directly with Turnitin and work to find a solution for this.

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