09 SES 13 B, Assessment for Learning: The Role of Feedback and Peers
Parallel Paper Session
Assessment is a broad concept which encompasses all judgements teachers and students make related to teaching and learning. My study deals with peer assessment, which implies that the aims, goals and criteria of a specific task should be a joint property of both the teacher and the students, and that the feedback should be formative (Black & Wiliam, 1998; Topping & Ehly, 2001). This approach entails loosening the teachers’ grip on assessment and inviting the students into the assessment practice and “guild knowledge” (Sadler, 1989:126). Most of the studies focusing on peer review concern students at university or college level. However, the research context of my study is an English-as-a-foreign-language (EFL) classroom in a Swedish secondary school, in which pupils are engaged in a written task. The aims of my study are twofold: 1) to explore the processes that take place in a communicative classroom when the pupils are introduced to peer assessment and 2) to describe what the pupils learn in the process of giving feedback. The main research question is: What and how do pupils learn from giving feedback?
Previous empirical studies have shown that students who comment on their peers’ writing improve their own written proficiency more than those who only receive peer feedback (Lundstrom & Baker, 2009; Diab, 2010). Furthermore, this research indicates that especially the macro-level of writing is improved from reading and giving feedback (Lundstrom & Baker, 2009; Min, 2005), which may be related to findings from other studies suggesting that genre and audience awareness are raised due to activities involving reviewing peers’ texts (Berg, 1999; Tsui & Ng, 2000).
Another factor which may affect the possible benefits from giving feedback is the reviewer’s proficiency level. Lundstrom & Baker (2009) conclude that beginners increase their scores more than intermediate students, whereas Berg (1999) does not discern any correlation between proficiency level and improvement. There is consensus regarding the importance of training in order to be a proficient peer or self reviewer. This training should include coaching, teacher demonstrations and aids like check lists for instance (Stanley, 1992). Also, reading good examples of writing by their peers helped students to improve their own written proficiency (Berg, 1999; Tsui & Ng, 2000).
The theoretical framework of my study consists of task- and genre-based writing instruction, which both focus on language use and communicative competence by emphasizing authenticity, meaning and social interaction (Richards & Rodgers, 2001; Hyland, 2004). This fusion of task and genre approaches has been explored by Yasuda (2011), who argues that studies aimed at informing pedagogical practice should include a description of how the instruction was planned and performed. The communicative language competences are also part of the rationale for the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), which explicitly states language proficiency descriptors and provides a self-assessment grid (2001).
Berg, C. E. (1999). The effects of trained peer response on ESL students’ revision types and writing quality. Journal of Second Language Writing, 8(3), 215-241. Black, P & Wiliam, D. (1998). Assessment and classroom learning. Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy and Practice, 5(1), 7-74 Council of Europe (2001). Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, teaching, assessment. Cambridge: Cambridge University press. Diab, N. M. (2010). Effects of peer- versus self-editing on students’ revision of language errors in revised drafts. System 38, 85-95. Hyland, K. (2004). Genre and Second Language Writing. Michigan: The University of Michigan Press Lundstrom, K. & Baker, W. (2009). To give is better than to receive: The benefits of peer review to the reviewer’s own writing. Journal of Second Language Writing 18, 30-43. Min, H. T. (2005). Training students to become successful peer reviewers. System 33, 293-308. Richards, J.C. & Rodgers, T.S. (2001). Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching: a Description and Analysis. (2. ed.) Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Sadler, R. (1989). Formative assessment and the design of instructional systems. Instructional Science, 18(2), 119-144. Stanley, J. (1992). Coaching student writers to be effective peer evaluators. Journal of Second Language Writing, 1(3), 217-233. Topping, K. J. & Ehly, S. W. (2001). Peer assisted learning: A framework for consultation. Journal of Educational and Psychological Consultation, 12(2), 13-32. Tsui, A. B. M. & Ng, M. (2000). Do secondary L2 writers benefit from peer comments? Journal of Second Language Writing, 9(2), 147-170. Yasuda, S. (2011). Genre-based tasks in foreign language writing: Developing writers’ genre awareness, linguistic knowledge, and writing competence. Journal of Second Language Writing, 20(2), 111–133.
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