Peer Assessment in Medical Science: An exploration of one programme's approach to peer assessment, including staff and student perceptions.


  • Mary F Mc Grath GMIT DIT
  • Lloyd Scott DIT
  • Pauline Logue-Collins GMIT


Peer assessment, programme assessment, medical science


Assessment in Higher Education (HE) is widely accepted as fundamental to the learning process.  The assessment strategy employed in a programme plays a major role in how, what and when students engage and as such influences the depth of learning that occurs.  A well-structured holistic approach to assessment within a programme can be of a major benefit to both students and academics.  The use of Peer Assessment (PA) and other more formative tools assists in the development of self-directed independent learners.  A critical evaluation of the effectiveness of programme assessment strategies and methodologies involves the analysis of the current practice and the perceptions of all involved.  As a starting point in the development of a framework for the cohesive inclusion of PA in the B.Sc(Hons) Medical Science degree programme in GMIT this paper presents an exploratory review of the current assessment methodology in use.  Methodologically, following a documentary analysis approach, the programme’s module descriptors were reviewed for content related to assessment methods in use.  Staff and students of the programme were both surveyed to gain an insight into current practice and to document students’ perceptions of their experience of assessment and of peer assessment in particular. The main findings demonstrated a marked lack of transparency and detail in relation to assessment strategy in the module documentation.  Staff are using diverse assessment methods in this programme, including PA, albeit at individual module level. Students’ perceptions and experiences of assessment and PA is overall positive.  The programme and the students would benefit from a more structured programmatic approach to the inclusion of PA.






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