University students’ attitudes towards peer assessment and reactions to peer feedback on group writing
In educational contexts, students‘ perceptions about assessment influence the approach they adopt towards learning and studying. Based on this statement, this study aims to examine how university students in the Rwandan context experienced peer assessment of group writing as one way to improve the quality of their learning. The study involved 34 second-year modern languages undergraduate students, divided into 12 writing groups. The data which are largely based on open ended interviews, were collected after the 12 groups had completed peer assessing their fellows‘ essay and then provided and commented on peer feedback. On the whole, the findings show that students were happy to peer assess but not so much to be peer assessed. Also, half of the participants estimated that their assessments did not match those to be expected by their course instructor even if the same assessment criteria were to be used. Some recommendations are formulated in light of the skills that students might have gained from reciprocal peer assessment and what still needs to be done to fully develop student-focused learning through peer assessment.
Key words: group writing, reciprocal peer assessment, student-centred learning, Rwanda