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Involving students

Ultimately the goal of any university course is for students to be able to make judgements on their own and others work. The more time students spend on higher-level abilities like analysing and evaluating, the better they will get at assessment. Habeshaw, Gibbs and Habeshaw (1995: 155) suggest one approach to getting students involved in their assessment by having them develop their own assignment questions. If students are concerned with the subject's assessment they will be encouraged to engage in their subjects in deeper and more meaningful ways.

Peer assessment develops the ability of students to make independent judgements by involving them in commenting on and judging other students' work. It is commonly a part of group work in which a variety of assessment methods are undertaken as a group assignment to develop students' teamwork skills and/or enable students to undertake larger tasks than could be done by an individual. Peer assessment has a vital role to play in formative assessment, but it can also be used as a component in a summative assessment if carefully implemented.

Self assessment generally supplements rather than replaces teacher assessment. The defining characteristic of self-assessment is the involvement of the students in identifying standards and/or criteria to apply to their work, and making judgements about the extent to which they have met these criteria and standards. This form of assessment is commonly a supplement to teacher assessment of students, but in some cases it may replace it.

An ideal resource for those interested in involving students in taking responsibility for making judgements about their own learning is David Boud’s (1986) "Implementing Student Self Assessment". Boud argues that students see evaluating his or her own work as an important skill to which universities rarely contribute. Boud provides 6 case studies of the application of self-assessment to undergraduate courses.


Habeshaw, S. Gibbs, G. and Habeshaw, T. (1995). 53 Interesting ways to assess your students. Bristol: Technical and Educational Services Ltd.