Pros & Cons of The 4 Peer Evaluation Methods for Team-Based Learning

Nov 27, 2020 • 6min read

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If you have been following our blog, you may already know about the various peer evaluation methods that exist and are used in Team-Based Learning classes. The question then is - which method should you implement in your own course?

If you’re still unfamiliar with the different methods available, we recommend referring to this this resource: Peer Evaluation In Team-Based Learning: The Definitive Guide.

To decide which method is right for you, you will have to consider several factors such as your institution’s culture, the course’s goals as well as your own goals as an instructor.

We'll discuss some advantages and disadvantages of each method so you can be better informed of which method is most aligned with your goals.

Michaelsen’s method

Pros The main advantage of this method is that it requires students to differentiate grading amongst their peers, forcing students to give greater thought to how each individual has contributed to the team.

Cons Differentiated grading, however, acts as a double edged sword. Students may experience a sense of unfairness if they feel their teammates have contributed equally.

Another disadvantage stems from the same problem. Students may try to game the system by colluding on scores they are going to give each other so that on average they all get the same score.

One last drawback comes from the fact that some students start seeing this exercise as a zero-sum game where they can give low scores to some peers to then be able to give higher scores to others.

Fink’s method

Pros

The main advantage of this approach is that students are not required to give different scores to their teammates. Thus, if they believe that all members have contributed equally, they are not restricted in their ability to give the same scores. This method is often seen as fairer by students.

Cons

The main disadvantage of this method is that, given the way in which scores are calculated, students sometimes underestimate the impact that the score they give can have on their peers, resulting in scores that excessively harm or benefit their peers’ grades.

Another disadvantage comes from the fact that students are allowed to give the same score to all the team members. Depending on the cohort, this might lead to grade inflation as students know that they can easily coordinate to get an equal score.

Koles’ method

Pros

The Koles’ method is more quantitatively and qualitatively thorough compared to the other methods. On the qualitative side, there is an emphasis on providing good feedback because students’ “peer score” is a combination of what others say about them and the quality of the feedback they provide. This has two benefits. Students improve at giving feedback and if peer evaluation is conducted in a formative context, this can lead to better opportunities for other students to improve on their peers’ comments.

On the quantitative side, the Koles’ method asks students to rate their peers in several competencies within three areas: cooperative learning, self-directed learning and interpersonal skills. Students have to rate based on whether their peers meet a particular competency on a four point scale: never, sometimes, often or always.

Cons

This method has the same disadvantage as the Fink’s method in that students are not required to discriminate among their peers which might lead to grade inflation. Another drawback is the higher amount of effort required by instructors to review and analyze students’ submissions. This is a result of Koles’ method being more thorough.

Texas Tech’s Method

Pros

Similar to Koles’ method, this approach is more quantitatively and qualitatively thorough than other methods. Students have to rate their teammates on 12 criteria and allocate between 1 and 5 points for each criterion. Usually 1 is considered to little, 5 is considered too much and 3 is regarded as the ideal score.

An additional benefit is that this method is not used to adjust students’ grades. Therefore, this can be useful in highly competitive environments where students are especially concerned about letting other students’ impact their grades.

Cons

However, although a benefit in some contexts, not adjusting students’ grades can also be a drawback as this does not allow faculty to take peer evaluation into account during grading for their course. This method also has the same disadvantages as the Koles´ method: students are not required to discriminate among their peers which might lead to grade inflation and it requires a higher amount of effort from instructors to review and analyze students’ submissions.

Conclusion

Regardless of the peer evaluation method you choose, it should be able to address 3 scenarios (Sibley, 2014):

  1. A student who is constantly unprepared. He or she should not be able to benefit from the work of others and their grade should be adjusted accordingly.

  2. A student who is well prepared. The peer evaluation should reward this student.

  3. A student how dominates the team conversation and bullies. Peer evaluation must only reward healthy behaviors and provide feedback to counteract negative ones.

Maybe you’re just starting with peer evaluation and want to choose a method for the first time. Perhaps the approach you are currently using is generating pushback from your students. Regardless of the situation you’re in, we hope you are able to use this post to make a better informed decision about changes to make in your peer evaluation process.

Remember that although these are the most popular methods, you are not limited to using the methods discussed here. Your context should be the number one factor you consider when deciding on a peer evaluation method. If these methods do not fit your requirements, try combining them.

Read more: Common Peer Evaluation Challenges And Solutions

References

1. Sibley, Jim; Ostafichuk, Pete. (2014) Getting Started With Team-Based Learning. 1st edition. [ebook] (p. 155). Stylus Publishing.

2. 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]

3. 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. Sandy Cook Senior Associate Dean, Education Duke-National University of Singapore Medical School
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Dr. Tom DeWitt Professor Michigan State University
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Victor Holmes Assistant Professor University of North Texas Health Science Center
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"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."
Dr. Sarada Harichand Bulchand Lead Associate Duke-National University of Singapore Medical School
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"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."
Matthew Robson Senior Learning Designer Macquarie University
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"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!"
Dr Chitra Pai Professor Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine
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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."
Russell Marcus Department Chair & Associate Professor Hamilton College
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"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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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."
Paul Mcdermott Senior Lecturer University of East Anglia School of Pharmacy
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Steve Schneid Managing Director University of California
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"I just want to say I love InteDashboard, and it is an integral part of my teaching!"
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"Outstanding 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."
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"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."
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"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."
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