Learning and Teaching Investment Fund 2012

Summary of projects

Project title

Contribute 2: Broadening peer learning for inclusive practice into Creative Arts Diploma and Associate Degree programs in TAFE

Project leaders

  • Professor Barbara de la Harpe
  • Ms Megan McPherson

Project team

  • Ms Rebekha Naim
  • Mr Grant Emerson
  • Ms Belinda Wilson
  • Mr Glenn Blair
  • Mrs Tina Guglielmino
  • Ms Thembi Mason
  • Discipline Teaching Teams (School of Art, School of Media and Communication and School of Fashion and Textiles)

Project summary

In this LTIF project, a structured peer assessment approach was trialed in Semester 2, 2012 in core first year courses in the Diploma of Visual Arts program (School of Art), the Associate Degree in Fashion Design and Technology program (School of Fashion and Textiles) and the Associate Degree in Professional Writing and Editing program (School of Media and Communication). As part of the approach, a peer assessment activity was embedded in one core studio course in each program. This provided students with the opportunity to provide feedback to their peers on a major project and to contribute a mark to their peer’s final grade. The peer feedback and assessment activity was allocated 10% of the course grade.

The peer assessment approach included an introduction to peer assessment and assessment rubrics, access to concurrent workshops and online learning and teaching support materials (from Contribute: Peer learning for inclusive practice in Art and Design 2011), the use of mobile technologies appropriate to the disciplines and a peer-learning brochure. Teachers in each program (a total of 9, 3 from each program) specifically designed a peer learning activity to extend, enhance and maximize student learning within existing course curriculum using the resources available.

The structured peer assessment approach was evaluated using a mixed methods ADRI (Approach, Deployment, Reflection and Improvement) action cycle methodology. For students, this involved peer assessment in small teams, face-to-face, using a rubric and completing a pre-post survey that explored whether the approach enhanced their overall learning experience and academic achievement. The pre student survey (N= 203, n= 73; 36% response rate) was conducted at the start of semester two 2012, after students were briefed about the peer assessment process, while post student survey (N= 203, n= 40; 19.7% response rate) was conducted after the peer feedback and assessment activities were completed at the end of semester two, 2012. For staff, it involved the integration of a formalised student-led peer feedback and assessment process (and development of an assessment rubric) where for the first time students contributed to the mark of fellow students in a key course. Staff completed a survey (N=9; n=7; 77.7%) that focused on whether they believed that the approach enhanced overall student learning, academic achievement and the future of the approach in their program.

Overall, positive results were reported. All staff and the majority (60%) of students reported that the peer assessment approach helped them to become more professional. As confidence in marking other students’ work increased, the desire for using peer assessment also increased (ρ = .356, p = .028). As willingness to mark other students’ work increased, the desire for using peer assessment also increased (ρ = .411, p = .013). As student willingness to have their work marked by other students increased, the desire for using peer assessment also increased (ρ = .459, p = .004). The more positively peer feedback was received, the stronger the desire students had for using peer assessment again (ρ = .353, p = .041). Students who referred to the assessment rubric before or during completion of their project were more likely to want to use peer assessment in the future (ρ = .370, p = .022). The more students thought that the feedback from their group was useful, the more they wanted to use peer assessment in the future (ρ = .309, p = .071). The more effectively a student’s peer assessment group worked together, the more they wanted to use peer assessment in the future (ρ = .281, p = .088). Most importantly, all staff reported that they were interested in continuing using peer feedback and assessment rubrics, that, in turn, we believe supports a cultural paradigm shift towards a more student-centred approach to learning and teaching.


The proposed project outcomes were as follows:

  • Outcome 1 Improved student cohort experience
  • Outcome 2 Enhanced staff knowledge in adapting curriculum for supporting and integrating a peer learning process
  • Outcome 3 Development of an integrated peer-learning model, with accompanying student self-directed online module
  • Outcome 4 Advice on appropriate mobile technologies to support an integrated peer-learning model in Creative Arts programs delivered in TAFE
  • Outcome 5 Presentations on integrated peer learning and scalability of model for adoption in other areas
  • Outcome 6 Scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) paper for publication that documents practice and experiences

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