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Research in Higher Education Journal


This paper contains results of an empirical study that tested the efficacy and acceptability of two templates designed to fully involve students in proper and fair peer-assessments of their group project work (GPW) by providing concrete evidence of independent progressive documentation of their peers’ contributions to the work-process and end-product(s).

Two compatible templates – the Progressive Evaluation Template (PET) and the Peer Assessment Criteria Template (PACT) – were developed to enable students provide progressive documentation of their peers’ contributions to the student-led group project process in order to support the marks they award their peers and, at the same time, show concrete evidence of their fairness in the entire peer-assessment process. The templates were trialed through experimental usage by the faculty and students of three undergraduate courses in The Media School of Bournemouth University in Bournemouth, United Kingdom, and four undergraduate/graduate courses in the School of Business & Entrepreneurship of Lindenwood University in Saint Charles, Missouri, United States. The trials were conducted in the 2009/2010 and 2010/2011 academic years respectively. The efficacy and acceptability of the templates were then tested through a cross-national opinion survey of the students in the seven courses.

The study results generally indicate positive acceptability of the templates and a significant relationship between the students’ acceptance of the tools and the levels of usefulness, comprehension, ease of use, and fairness they attributed to them. In discussing the aggregate findings, the paper also recommends ways of using the templates in digital peer-assessment contexts.

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