Thursday, December 11, 2014
Editor's note: Today’s guest author is Alice Keeler, a Google Certified Teacher, New Media Consortium K12 Ambassador and LEC Admin & Online and Blended certified. Alice taught high school math for 14 years and is an Adjunct Professor of Curriculum, Instruction and Technology at California State University Fresno. Alice coaches teachers and administrators on using technology in the classroom.
In my high school and college classes, I’m one teacher working with up to 150 students. With this kind of ratio, I just can’t give students feedback fast enough; but giving that feedback as immediately as possible helps increase their motivation and accelerate learning opportunities. Peer evaluation allows students to get feedback faster, learn from each other, and helps them better understand the grading rubric by applying it to their classmates.
Google Forms makes peer evaluation possible and simple. I collect the names and email addresses of both students: evaluator and evaluatee. I use the “grid” style question type to allow peers to rank each criteria on a scale of 1-5 against the rubric. I can include a URL to the grading criteria in the help text, so all students have access to the standard assessment guide.
To be successful, students must not only be instructed in—but also practice giving—quality feedback. With Google Forms, it’s easy to add help text that tells students what to review and comment on. Peer evaluators can add details to their feedback—such as what they liked or constructive criticism—using the comment boxes. This increases the quality of their feedback.
Google Forms also connects this peer evaluation data to a Google spreadsheet on the backend. This places all of the peer evaluation data in one location that is nicely organized and easy to analyze. With the summary of responses feature in Google Forms, I can see a quick snapshot view of overall student performance. Using the pivot table feature in the data menu, I’m able to quickly find summary data of how students evaluated their peers. I can also create a separate pivot table to tally how many of each rank a peer evaluator provided. This helps determine how fairly the peer evaluator is assessing his or her peers.
To make it even easier to sort and organize data, I format my questions consistently with “multiple choice,” “choose from a list,” “checkboxes,” “scale,” or “grid” styles. To streamline name and email collection, I use the pre-filled URL option, like this.
Rather than creating a unique URL for each student, I have students list their names and emails in a Google Sheet and use a formula to pre-populate their information into the peer evaluation form. And when working on group projects, multiple student names can be pre-populated into the peer evaluation form, too.
Providing students feedback from their peers quickly is essential. After checking the spreadsheet comments to make they are appropriate and helpful, I email them out. Google Sheets Add-Ons provide the ability to use mail merge to send students the peer feedback. Using the Add-On “Yet Another Mail Merge” returns feedback to the students via email in one action.
Google Forms makes the challenging task of managing peer feedback simple and fast. Since peer feedback can be delivered in minutes, I save class time and eliminate handing out and collecting paper forms. Thirty students in a class can generate up to 900 peer evaluations. This data can be analyzed quickly and easily, without manually tallying results. Feedback can be returned to students within a day rather than weeks later. With this process, students can receive feedback quickly, which helps increase their attention and motivation in class.