The University system in the United States has been criticized for depersonalizing education (Tae 2009). The depersonalization of learning shows a lack of engagement on the part of the educator and the student and consequently the university. We ask the question: Can incorporating self and peer assessment into tertiary studies help to reengage students in their education?

Innovative assessment practices have the capacity to significantly change the perceptions of students with regard to their tertiary studies. Assessment drives learning (Boud, 1990); however, the wrong type of assessment drives the wrong type of learning. Traditional tests, meaningless essays, research projects that do not have value outside of the classroom reinforce surface learning and memorization (Gardner, 1997). What is needed is a reinvigoration of authentic assessment practices that foster useful metacognitive skills and are focused on deep, sustainable, authentic learning. While initiating innovative assessment practices might not solve the problem of overcrowded lecture theatres, it may be able to guide learning and encourage students to be more engaged.

In a recent study conducted at a small private university in Australia, we found that by incorporating the ASPAL Model (Authentic Self & Peer Assessment for Learning) (Kearney & Perkins, 2010), students were more engaged, had increased efficacy and felt that they were a part of the educative process, rather than being subjected to it.

This paper will present initial, qualitative findings, from research conducted in the School of Education at the University of Notre Dame, Australia where 280 undergraduate primary education students were surveyed prior to undertaking ASPAL and after undertaking ASPAL. While the quantitative results are still being analysed, the students’ perceptions of the process in the post survey will be reported and discussed in this paper and some broad conclusions drawn with regard to the use of self and peer assessment in engaging students in their studies.

AABRI International Conference, Las Vegas, October 6 - 8, 2011


Published in Full, Higher education, Assessment, Sustainable Learning, Authentic Learning, Self -Assessment, Peer-Assessment


Further information about this conference may be accessed here

The Authors:

Mr Sean Kearney

Mr Tim Perkins

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