Introducing Peer Assessment to a Reading Classroom: Expanding Thai University Students’ Learning Boundaries beyond Alphabetical Symbols

Saowaluck Tepsuriwong, Thanis Bunsom

Abstract


Liu and Carless (2006) propose that peer assessment through peer feedback giving has its potential for enhanced student learning. Introducing formative assessment, using valid and reliable rubrics, can be beneficial to both teachers and learners in the process of learner improvement. However, Carless’s experiences in Hong Kong, a Confucius-based society where high-stake summative examinations are heavily prioritised, are solid proofs of how culture can interfere with education. In Asian societies, including Thailand, teachers having superior and absolute power in assessment are respected by students and hence, teacher voices take precedence over those of their peers. Implementing peer assessment in Asian classrooms, therefore, is problematic and to a certain extent, impossible. In this research, in order to expand our students’ learning boundaries beyond familiar, traditional ways of teacher assessment of which an end result is a grade, we introduced peer assessment rubrics to our reading classroom to allow them to monitor their friends’ reading progress. The peer evaluation results and comments were analyzed and compared with that of the teacher. An in-depth interview was also conducted with six subjects after the assessment process. The findings showed that as most of our students were engineering students and the texts they were reading were literary excerpts, employing rubrics was very helpful in the learning process. Nevertheless, as a result of long standing culture, final grades were still their priority. Our conclusive suggestions were that structural changes in assessment would be needed and they would certainly take time amidst the assessment culture in Thailand.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2013.v4n14p279


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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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