Common Peer Evaluation Challenges And Solutions

Nov 27, 2020 • 5min read

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In this post, we’re going to explain some potential solutions to common challenges faced by Team-Based Learning (TBL) educators when implementing peer evaluation. These solutions are based on the drawbacks each method has which we have briefly outlined here.

If you would like a more in-depth explanation of the various challenges each method has, read our post on the Pros & Cons of The 4 Peer Evaluation Methods for Team-Based Learning.

Michaelsen’s method

Challenges

  • It requires students to discriminate scoring creating a feeling of unfairness among students

  • This feeling of unfairness may lead students to take advantage of the system and coordinate to get the same score nevertheless

Potential solution

Michaelsen recommends allowing students to collude while giving peer evaluations with one restriction: they can only do so in peer evaluations that are conducted at the end of the course. If your students are trying to agree on what grades to give each other at the end of the course, it is likely because they genuinely believe their team members have made equitable contributions. On the other hand, if they’re trying to game the system at the beginning of the course, it can be assumed that they don’t know each other’s performance and are just trying to easily improve their grades.

Fink’s method

Challenges

  • Students can have a greater impact on each other’s grades than intended given that peer evaluation scores are used as multipliers, which impact students’ TRAT scores and in turn their overall course grade

  • Not being required to discriminate among their peers might lead to social loafing. This can affect group cohesion as hard-working students start getting irritated by other team members not taking work seriously.

Potential Solution

A solution for unwanted grade deflation is limiting the direction of grade adjustment. If a student performs well and gets a peer score greater than 100 his grade will be adjusted upwards but if a student gets a peer score lower than 100 his grade will remain unaffected.

Another interesting solution is combining both Michaelsen’s and Fink’s methods. Here is an example:

  • Students would start with the Michaelsen’s approach and would be required to discriminate among their peers

  • The score would then be transformed into a multiplier like in Fink’s method

  • Grades are then adjusted only upwards as mentioned previously

  • Those who have less than 100 are still advised but their grades do not suffer

This mitigates both the Fink’s and Michaelsen’s methods’ drawbacks by leaning on the strengths of both methods. As you can see, the benefits of one method counteract the other method’s drawbacks.

 

Koles’ method

Challenge

  • It’s not required to discriminate scoring among team members which lead to inflated grades and social loafing

Potential Solution

An easy solution is to require students to discriminate i.e. give all their team members different scores. If your class is graded on the curve, Jim Sibley, author of “Getting Started with Team-Based Learning” suggests, making your students aware that giving out the same score to all their peers will lead to their score becoming the average score of the class.

Texas Tech’s method

Challenge

  • The score is not used to adjust students’ grades. Thus, instructors can’t benefit from using the extra information provided by students to assess their class.

Potential Solution

The reason why this method is used by TBL educators in the first place is that sometimes students are not comfortable with letting other students impact their grades. This tends to happen in highly competitive environments. If you would like to use peer evaluation to adjust your students’ grade, the solution would be to increase student buy-in by reassuring them about the benefits of a graded peer evaluation in order to either start adjusting grades with this method or adopt another one.

Conclusion and Summary

We hope this post has given you a better idea of how to solve some common issues that arise when implementing peer evaluation. Here is a summary of some of the most commonly seen challenges and solutions in peer evaluation.

Michaelsen’s method

The main challenge revolves around student discontent due to the requirement of student discrimination. A potential solution is to allow students to collude on their peer evaluation scores but only at the end of the instructional period.

Fink’s method

The issue also revolves around student discontent but this time because students may have a significant impact on their peers’ scores. A potential solution is to limit the direction of grade adjustment to be only upwards.

Koles’ method

The issue tends to be grade inflation or social loafing and the potential solution is encouraging or requiring grade discrimination among students.

Texas Tech’s method

The issue is that scores are not used to adjust students’ grades and the potential solution is to move to a method that does this.

References

1. Goedde, Rick & Sibley, Jim. Approaches to Peer Evaluation: Pro’s and Con’s of Various Methods. [PDF]. Available at: http://learntbl.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Poster_TBL_peer_Feb2011-22nd.pdf [Accessed 04/06/2018]

2. Levine, R.E., 2012. Peer evaluation in team-based learning. Team-Based Learning for Health Professions Education: A Guide to Using Small Groups to Improve Learning, pp.103-116.

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Dr. Sarada Harichand Bulchand Lead Associate Duke-National University of Singapore Medical School
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"InteDashboard is a fantastic and very useful platform to conduct classes in a team-based learning setting, probably because it has all the features that team-based learning requires. The features on InteDashboard are so nuanced that they help in enhancing the learning of students, which is the core objective that the educators try to achieve from TBL methodology."
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Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"The feature which we find most valuable is the automated grading and item analysis dashboards. They effectively provide staff and students within information that help inform what the clarification session should address. Also, The InteDashboard team provides great support. The team has been responsive to our feedback when we have asked for a possible enhancement to their tool in the past!"
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Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
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"Tech support is great, the software is easy to use and learn, online TBL is awesome (and helpful in this time of the pandemic), and the ability for easy peer review is stellar."
Dr Grady Campbell Professor Nova Southeastern University
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"Student evaluations were higher the semester we used InteDashboard than the previous semesters we held TBL in in-person setting."
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"The great advantage of InteDashboard is that it is a single platform for RATs, peer evaluation, and 4S activities."
Hillel W. Cohen, Dr.P.H. Professor Associate Director of Curriculum, Clinical Research Training Program Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"InteDashboard allowed a seamless transition from paper-pencil response forms to electronic response."
Dr Gemma Quinn Senior Lecturer University of Bradford
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"It's changed the way we do TBL and allowed us to do it effectively online."
Michael E. Woods, Ph.D. Associate Professor Pathology & Director of Research Laboratories Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine
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"InteDashboard gives me the ability to run online TBLs with ease. The interface is intuitive for faculty and students and matches what we would have done in the classroom."
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Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"Oustanding tool for face-to-face, web-blended and fully online TBL courses! We've been using InteDashboard across several TBL classes at the University of South Alabama and are consistently impressed with the tool as well as the exceptional support from the team. We look forward to increasing utilization of InteDashboard through our campus-wide project."
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"The administrative challenges behind TBL are often viewed as a major barrier to effective implementation. InteDashboard is the only technological solution that puts it all together, allowing the faculty to focus on creating the learning environment - not fumbling with papers, grading and pulling data from different sources."
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"I'm convinced, and I've done a fair amount of looking over the past few years to identify an online quizzing/survey tool that allows for individual question submission and real-time feedback (especially for the TRAT). InteDashboard really is the premier solution in this category. Bar none. Hands down."
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"Ability to get real-time data on RAT test items during teaching and save this information (i.e. scores on assessments) has made the tool an essential element to my everyday online teaching."
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"I love having real time access to my students performance data and knowing exactly what concepts have or haven’t been understood while they complete their IRATs and TRATs! InteDashboard has significantly enhanced the ease and effectiveness with which I prepare for, and teach in, my TBL classes at Deakin."
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"Overall, I’ve been really pleased with how InteDashboard has elevated the ability to engage students in Team-based learning."
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"The InteDashboard platform is unique in what it offers for educators and learners. The ability to interact, work with the quizzes easily, and general functionality of the program are key features not to miss. I have been able to create a more experiential learning environment allowing learners to immediately dive into experiences that simulate real clinical challenges."
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"InteDashboard is a fantastic and very useful platform to conduct classes in a team-based learning setting, probably because it has all the features that team-based learning requires. The features on InteDashboard are so nuanced that they help in enhancing the learning of students, which is the core objective that the educators try to achieve from TBL methodology."
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"The feature which we find most valuable is the automated grading and item analysis dashboards. They effectively provide staff and students within information that help inform what the clarification session should address. Also, The InteDashboard team provides great support. The team has been responsive to our feedback when we have asked for a possible enhancement to their tool in the past!"
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"The support staff was prompt when we were in the initial phase of integrating it into Canvas. It provided the benefits of graded IRAT and TRAT and was really a seamless way to provide active learning in an online environment."
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"Tech support is great, the software is easy to use and learn, online TBL is awesome (and helpful in this time of the pandemic), and the ability for easy peer review is stellar."
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"Student evaluations were higher the semester we used InteDashboard than the previous semesters we held TBL in in-person setting."
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"The great advantage of InteDashboard is that it is a single platform for RATs, peer evaluation, and 4S activities."
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"InteDashboard allowed a seamless transition from paper-pencil response forms to electronic response."
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"It's changed the way we do TBL and allowed us to do it effectively online."
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"InteDashboard gives me the ability to run online TBLs with ease. The interface is intuitive for faculty and students and matches what we would have done in the classroom."
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"I have recommended the product to many people already. It is a very versatile product with features that can be applied across a wide range of pedagogies. I have presented this tool to my school not just as a TBL tool but also a way to collect and analyse MCQ data and as a way to facilitate group learning and peer evaluation"