Requiring Comments for Every Criteria in Your Peer Assessment Rubric
When the peer assessment tool launched in January, 2014, one of the goals of the tool was to get students to provide constructive, written feedback on the work of their peers. Not only could students quickly evaluate a student according to the performance levels in a rubric, but we really wanted them to write about why they chose specific performance levels for a given rubric criteria. As such, some kind of comment was required for every critera (row) in a rubric.
We discovered quite quickly, however, that there were many criteria where text-based commenting simply wasn't appropriate. Why force students to write comments on critera such as "length of paper"? The student being evaluated either wrote a paper that met the criteria of 2-3 pages, or did not. Additionally, some faculty and TAs used the peer assessment tool to do quick, quantitative-only evaluation of students and were stymied by the requirement that every criteria (row) in the rubric required some kind of text-based feedback.
Requiring text-based feedback (comments) for every criteria (row) in a peer evaluation rubric is now optional. The default is to require comments, but this is simple enough to turn off in those cases where comments in every row are not important, needed, or required. The comment box will still exist for every row in a rubric, and students can enter comments if they see fit, but comments in every row are no longer required in order for a rubric to be marked as 100% complete by a student if this option is turned off.
The CoursePlus team really does listen to the feedback we get from faculty, TAs, and students. We hope that this change will help the peer evaluation tool better meet the needs of a number of courses!