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Developing A Peer Evaluation Instrument That Is Simple, Reliable, And Valid

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.430.1 - 10.430.5



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Paper Authors

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Rufus Carter

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Lisa F. Bullard

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Douglas G. Schmucker

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Misty Loughry

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Richard Felder

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Richard Layton

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1526

Developing a Peer Evaluation Instrument that is Simple, Reliable, and Valid

Matthew W. Ohland, Misty L. Loughry, Rufus L. Carter, Lisa G. Bullard, Richard M. Felder, Cynthia J. Finelli, Richard A. Layton, and Douglas G. Schmucker

General Engineering, Management, Clemson University / Institutional Research and Assessment, Marymount University / Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, North Carolina State University / Center for Research on Learning and Teaching-North, University of Michigan / Mechanical Engineering, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology / Civil Engineering, Western Kentucky University


A multi-university research team is working to design a peer evaluation instrument for cooperative learning teams that is simple, reliable, and valid. In this work, an overview of the process of developing behaviorally anchored rating scales (BARS) will be presented, including the establishment of a theoretical basis for the instrument and a description of the extensive classroom testing of the draft instrument conducted during fall 2004.

Introducing the draft instrument to the engineering education community through exposure in the NSF grantees’ poster session is expected both to improve the validity of the scale itself through the feedback we receive and to accelerate the dissemination of the instrument.


This project and its goals were introduced in earlier work.1 ABET’s requirement that engineering graduates have an ability to function on multi-disciplinary teams2 has driven an expanded use of cooperative learning in engineering curricula.3 A fundamental tenet of cooperative learning is holding individualThis will be achieved by improving individual accountability by adjusting team members accountable for fulfilling their responsibilities to the team. An effective and increasingly common way of addressing this tenet is to have team members rate one another’s performance and to use the ratings to adjust the team assignment grades for individual performance. The challenge is to devise a rating system that is fair, simple to administer, reliable, and valid.

Our prior experience was based on a peer rating system developed by Robert Brown of the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.4,5 Brown’s system is a single-item form of behaviorally anchored rating scale (BARS), an instrument that aims to improve validity by reducing the subjectivity of ratings by providing verbal descriptions to anchor the points of the scale.6 The BARS was one of a variety of rating scales studied between 1960 and 1980. As rating-scale researchers became convinced that performance ratings were robust to changes in rating scale format,7 research into new rating formats waned, and has remained slow in the past 15 years.8

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Carter, R., & Bullard, L. F., & Schmucker, D. G., & Loughry, M., & Felder, R., & Ohland, M., & Layton, R., & Finelli, C. (2005, June), Developing A Peer Evaluation Instrument That Is Simple, Reliable, And Valid Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14413

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