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Peer Assessment of Oral Presentations Kevin Yee

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  1. Peer Assessment of Oral Presentations Kevin Yee Faculty Center for Teaching & Learning, University of Central Florida Methods Group One (Fall 2004): Research Question G1 was given a less focused and more unstructured peer review rubric for oral presentations throughout the semester. G2 performed the same presentations and was given a more detailed rubric that focused more attention on just two categories (voice and performance). In both cases, student presentations were followed by a class-wide discussion of specific techniques, problems, and model behaviors from the performances. In the case of G2 only, the anonymous peer evaluations were also handed back to each student after every session. After six weeks, both groups completed a five-minute, non-anonymous midterm self-evaluation to answer these questions with bullet points: What do you do well in presentations? What needs improvement? What have you learned about your presentation style? No further instructions were given, and responses were intentionally free-form. Results of the self-evaluations were tabulated by group, and frequency of each type of reply was determined, enabling several patterns to be discerned from the data. For oral presentations, does the introduction of revised peer-evaluation rubrics with increased focus and greater detail improve student awareness of presentation issues, and thus improve their perceived performance? Group Two (Spring 2005): Knowledge Base • Students learn more from interacting with other students than listening passively to teachers (McKeachie’s Teaching Tips, Wilbert J. McKeachie, New York, Houghton Mifflin, 2002). Also, “When assessment criteria are firmly set, peer-feedback enables students to judge the performance of their peers in a manner comparable to those of the teachers. However, the same is not found to be true with self-assessment” (Mrudula Patri. "The Influence of Peer Feedback on Self- and Peer-Assessment of Oral Skills." Language Testing, 19:2, 2002, p.109 ). Thus, peer evaluation is the only means of assessment which approaches the utility and practicality of teacher evaluation. • The potential benefit of collaborative work to enhance learning is strong enough to consider it one of the elite principles of good practice. But, “when poorly managed, collaborative assignments can decrease students’ sense of control and increase their anxiety and anger” (Barbara Walvoord and Virginia Anderson, Effective Grading, San Francisco, Jossey-Bass, 1998). Thus, peer edit rubrics must be properly constructed, or else the exercise risks diminishing learning rather than enhancing it. Findings Conclusion • Adding extra details to peer edit sheets does enhance student learning about the specifics being highlighted, but with some loss of holistic and “big picture” performance. Details on the peer edit sheets should be chosen with care. • Peer-edit rubrics should not only be as detailed as grading rubrics, but should also be open to revision based on evaluations. G2 was focused on issues of voice and performance rather than content and organization. G2, in considering time management to be part of “organization”, listed this most often as the item needing improvement (6 out of 12 respondents). If one condenses the categories of answers given by G2 under the topic “Things I Do Well,” the majority had to do with voice and performance (32 out of 45 responses). For G1, there was less agreement (only 5 out of 13 responses had to do with voice or performance). Members of G2 gave answers similar to each other, and the words they chose mimic the language on the rubric. Examples in “What I Learned” include eye contact, monotone, accent, and confidence. G1 chose words that did not mimic their simpler and broader rubric, and seemed to focus on idiosyncrasies rather than categories common to the rubric. Therefore, the focused rubric used by G2 seems to focus student attention on these particular concepts. Items at the top of G2’s rubric were the ones most often listed on the “Things I Do Well” list, and those at the bottom of the rubric are mentioned the least. The top of the list, volume, was mentioned by 5 of 12 respondents, the most correlation on the “Things I Do Well” list. Eye contact, at the top of the “performance” category, was mentioned by 4 of 12 respondents. In G1 there was no meaningful correlation between things they believe they do well and their rubric. G1 demonstrated little agreement within the group on any of the questions. Except for organization listed as “needing improvement,” virtually all other responses by G1 were individual responses that did not match other responses in the class. This suggests the class was not focused on any particular set of topics, and people pursued their own interests. The student responses can suggest ways in which the rubrics should be altered. Based on the feedback of the midterm evaluation instrument, I will implement a follow-up rubric to highlight the two topics seen as most urgent by G2 needing improvement: organization (6 of 12 respondents) and time management (7 of 12 respondents). Transferability • Multiple disciplines can use grading rubrics to evaluate student work whenever a sliding scale is appropriate, including student oral presentations in other fields, formal essays, written lab reports, or math/computer problems where the process is as important as the outcome. • This study suggests when detailed rubrics CAN be used as peer edit sheets, they SHOULD be integrated into the curriculum to focus attention on a few key concepts, and to deepen and broaden student learning. Context • Two groups of graduate students took the same non-credit course for a Teaching Certificate. G1 was five students in Fall 2004, and G2 was 12 students in Spring 2005. • Both groups gave weekly oral presentations. G1 was given a less-focused and less-detailed rubric for peer evaluation than G2. • At the midterm, both groups were asked to fill out non-anonymous self-evaluations of their oral presentation skills. The questions allowed for open-form, prose answers.