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Step 4 – Create and distribute the peer assessment survey

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Create the peer assessment

We create and distribute the teammate peer assessment survey to all the teams in our class. Our students must also be alert to receiving notifications about provisional results and requests we might make to resubmit an unsatisfactory response.


  • Check your team arrangement for logical consistency and errors
  • Create the peer assessment survey using your team arrangement.
  • Use an activity title to provide an informative description for your students.
  • Specify the availability and deadline for students to undertake the survey.
  • Confirm the survey has been created correctly.
  • Advise your students when and how they should access the survey, and review notifications about progress and feedback results.
  • Ensure your students advise you of team composition omissions or corrections as soon as possible.

Check your team arrangement for logical consistency

When you create a peer assessment survey it’s vital to begin with a correct, up-to-date arrangement of your class members allocated to the teams in which they have been working for their group assignment. The arrangement of teams in your class is your teamset. The team arrangement process was presented in Step 2 – Build your teams.

An effective peer assessment survey platform enables you to make adjustments to the teamset, which is explained Step 5 – Manage the peer assessment. However, it’s good practice to get the teamset right first time. For example, you will waste your time and your students’ time if you launch a peer assessment survey that must be rearranged subsequently because a student needs to be swapped from one team to another, or a late enrolled student added. A teamset rearrangement after launch may require some students to resubmit their survey responses because they have an additional teammate to rate.

An example teamset
Let’s attempt to create a peer assessment using the teamset presented as a comma separated variables (csv) file in Figure 6.1. Can you spot the deliberate errors?

Figure 6.1 A team arrangement prepared for peer assessment

Your digital peer assessment should warn if there are logical inconsistencies in your teamset. Resolve these inconsistencies by checking and correcting the teamset before resuming your attempt to create the survey.

Symptoms of possible problems in the teamset and logical inconsistencies include

  • The same student cannot be a member of more than one team within a single peer assessment activity.
  • Team sizes less than three are unsuitable for peer assessment, because feedback responses cannot be confidential. In some cases, the peer assessment platform will enable peer assessment to be undertaken, but will NOT apply a personal result based on contribution in these small teams. Each teammate should receive the same team result applied as their personal result.
  • A unique identity code (id) must distinguish different students with the same name, such as John SMITH.
  • It is poor practice for different students to share an identical email address.
  • Ensure the column headers or data descriptors match the requirements of the platform. If your peer assessment platform imports a comma separated values (.csv) file the required row headers illustrated in the example are id, first, last, email, team, group_code.

TIP! Students should use their institutional email address rather than their personal email address.

It is poor practice for different students to share the same email.Furthermore, using personal emails risks a transcription error, or communications from the survey platform being rejected by an overzealous spam-defending email server.

Teamset data quality assurance process

For instance, Figure 6.2 reveals how the teamset data quality assurance process on your peer assessment platform might identify the errors hidden in Figure 6.1

The student id, RE4, is repeated twice, but with different student names, Jaylee MURRAY and Jules MURRIFORD. Similarly, the email is repeated twice for Alivia YANG and Alyvia HOGAN. The latter is not a critical error, but a warning of poor practice. Finally, there is a small team of two members, Zamboanga Bulbuls. Sometimes, a small team is a symptom of a team identifier being misspelled. For example, Team BeatC0v1bi9 differs from BeatCovid19 in four characters! Note the reversals of zeros, ones, ohs, and eyes!

Figure 6.2 Example of logical inconsistencies and non-critical errors detected during teamset checking by peer assessment platform

Gallery 6.1 shows you how to identify, correct, then resubmit the teamset in preparation for creating the peer assessment.

Create the peer assessment survey

Use an informative activity title

Help your students recognize the significance of the peer assessment by providing an informative description, the Activity Title. Distinguish between formative and summative assessments. The activity title also helps you keep track of your assessments over several years.

For example, consider a group assignment undertaken over six weeks within the academic programme Ornithology 101. I undertake a formative peer assessment conducted by week three, and a summative peer assessment conducted at week six. Therefore, these two activity titles would be sensible.

Ornithology 101 Formative
Ornithology 101 Summative

Gallery 6.1 Correct and resubmit the team arrangement

Specify survey availability

TIP! Delay the start of the peer assessment until AFTER you have trained students how to assess and give feedback.

Start date (or date of availability). Specify the date and time that the peer assessment survey will become available for students to begin completion. When the survey becomes available the peer assessment platform should notify the students where and how to complete the survey, such as through a URL or the location on a learning management system.

TIP! Delay the start until one or two hours before you next meet or contact your students.

A delayed start date gives you time to check that the survey launches as you expect without generating incorrect notifications for your students.

Specify the due date (or deadline) by which time students should complete the survey. As the due date draws near the platform should prompt students yet to complete. Similarly, the platform should prompt you to manage proactively the survey addressing issues such as resolving dysfunctional team behaviors or outlier ratings. These issues are discussed in Step 5 – Manage the peer assessment, Chapter 7.

Fixed and flexible deadlines

Some survey platforms enforce a ‘hard’ deadline, forbidding survey submission after the due date. Other platforms use the due date as a ‘soft’ deadline, in an advisory capacity. A ‘soft’ deadline allows late submissions from students until the teacher explicitly finalises the survey, only at that point forbidding further submissions.

TIP! Specify a survey availability duration of three to five days.

A short survey availability gets students into the habit of completing the survey immediately it becomes available, and enables you to review and deliver feedback in a timely manner.

Figure 6.3 illustrates the creation of a peer assessment activity with the Activity Title Ornithologists 101 Formative, selecting only the teams designated by the Group (group_code) Ornithology101. The availability is postponed to Start At 3 pm, two hours before I meet my class through a Zoom meeting at 5 pm. The ‘soft’ Due Date is 14 days later at 5 pm. I should remark that I usually aim to deliver results to students prior to our next meeting, so that I can facilitate feedback in class, and resolve their perplexities. Consequently, I generally make my surveys available for four days with a ‘soft’ deadline.

Figure 6.3 Preparing to launch a peer assessment activity

Extra for experts – about groups and group_codes

You might wonder why students in the team Pukekos do not appear in Gallery 6.1 and Gallery 6.2. The Group Ornithology101 shown in Figure 6.3 dictates that only the subset of students designated by the group_code Ornithology101 are selected from the designated participants file. Specifically, the students who are members of team Pukekos are ignored for the launch shown in Figure 6.3 because they are designated by group_code Ornithology102.

The group_code subset selection feature is useful, for example, for a large academic programme with multiple teachers and tutors. You could conduct one giant peer assessment survey where all students are designated by the same group_code. Subsequently, you could conduct several smaller surveys for each subset of the students distinguished by a different group_code. The students associated with each group_code could be managed by a different tutor, along with their specific peer assessment surveys.

Arranging your students according to several group_code arrangements also enables you to have students in the same class working concurrently in different team arrangements. Other permutations can be conceived and managed.

Create the peer assessment survey

TIP! Synchronize the start date and time of the survey’s availability with a class contact session.

Leave at least a few hours between creating the peer assessment activity and the start date to confirm the details of the survey have been created as you expect, illustrated in Gallery 6.2.

Ideally, the students should receive no notifications about the survey’s existence until the start date has been reached. In the meantime, confirm the platform correctly reports details you expect. Furthermore, review any alerts or active warnings raised by the platform for your attention

  • Start and due dates
  • Number of teams, Number of students
  • Team composition
  • Active warnings generated by the platform such as invalid or missing emails, or small team sizes
  • Survey notifications history that logs key actions undertaken by the platform. Some actions may be taken automatically by the platform. Other actions may be initiated under your direction
  • Preview of notifications generated to students advising them of the survey. Message content. The status of messages delivered such as Sent, Delivered, Failed).

Remedy critical errors identified by the peer assessment platform, such as invalid emails, incorrect team compositions, or incorrect availability dates.

Gallery 6.2 Confirming details of a successful survey launch

Advise student access details

TIP! Replicate the survey notification arrangements generated by you peer assessment platform on your learning management system general notices board and/or class agenda.

Before you next meet your students, communicate how and when they will be given access to the survey. Your notification should be timed to coincide with the availability of the survey and notifications despatched from the survey platform to students.

In your communication, also suggest students attempt to access they survey prior to the class, so that any issues can be resolved with you before your formal contact time.

Students need to know

  • Availability start date and due date
  • The access authorization process, such as the login id required or single sign on (SSO) via your Learning Management System
  • When and where to view progress and final feedback results
  • Their obligation to view notifications from the platform, such as requests to resubmit a survey response.
  • Who to contact to advise if a student team has been specified incorrectly. Remember to urge prompt reporting of omissions or corrections to you.
  • Where to locate support (help, frequently asked questions) about issues relating to difficulties logging in to the survey, or being unable to find notifications from the platform.

When you meet in class, remind students about the key matters discussed in Step 5 – Train your students, Chapter 5.

  • The reasons for undertaking peer assessment
  • The importance of giving fair, accurate, honest and constructive feedback
  • The academic policies that apply to peer assessment in your class
  • The penalties that may apply for unsatisfactory, late, or missing assessment responses.

Typical issues students face when attempting to access the survey are

  • Notification communications have not been received. Are emails in a student’s junk or spam folder? Were the communications rejected by the student’s mail server? Check your platform notifications history for a log of communications delivery status.
  • Failure to follow correct instructions about login authorization.

How Peer Assess Pro helps

Table 6.1 How Peer Assess Pro helps create a peer assessment survey

Teamset validityIdentifies and distinguishes between critical and informative warnings about the logical validity of the team arrangement, such as duplicate ids, duplicate names, duplicate email addresses, and small teams.
Soft due dateAllows students to submit survey responses until the teacher explicitly finalizes the survey.
Creation notification - TeacherConfirms by email to the teacher all the details about the successful creation of the activity such as number of teams to be surveyed, activity URL, availability and due dates, student access location, and where to find help for issues most relevant to this step of the peer assessment and feedback process.
Availability notification - StudentsAdvises students by email details about where and how to login to the peer assessment survey. Advises where to find help for issues most relevant to this step of the peer assessment survey process, such as the purpose of peer assessment, and how to address login difficulties.
Team confirmation - StudentsStudents receive advice about their team composition as they start the survey. If the student notices an incorrect team, they conveniently initiate a request to the the student notices an incorrect team, they conveniently initiate a request to the teacher to adjust the team arrangement.
Teamset updateEnables update of the team arrangement any time between creation and date of finalisation.
Due date reminder - StudentsThe students are reminded automatically to complete the survey before the due date, if they have yet to respond.
Due date reminder - TeacherThe teacher is reminded to undertake survey management activities at the survey mid-point and just before the due date is reached.The notification gives the teacher timely opportunity to intervene with unsatisfactory responses, and the flexibility to allow or forbid late responses.
Reusable teamsetA validated teamset used for an earlier peer assessment can be reused without the need to import and validate a new teamset .csv file.
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