Asee peer logo

Peer Evaluation In A Mandatory Cooperative Education Environment

Download Paper |


2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.778.1 - 6.778.7



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

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

Session 3230

Peer Evaluation in a Mandatory Cooperative Education Environment

Matthew W. Ohland and Cynthia J. Finelli Clemson University / Kettering University


Previous studies with a majority white student population [1] and with a majority black popula- tion [2] demonstrated that peer ratings to assess individual performance of team members showed no effects relating to gender but significant effects relating to race. For this study, the student population is majority white, but is from Kettering University, an institution that requires participation in a cooperative education program from the first freshman term. We found in this case no difference among peer ratings based on either gender or race, but the small sample size of female and minority students in the Kettering student population makes further investigation necessary to confirm this result. Supporting the observed trend, we note that the students in the Kettering population are rated more uniformly in teamwork contribution by their peers than in the previously cited studies—there is less score variation. We hypothesize that the required co- operative education experience of the Kettering students has improved their teamwork skills and that the peer ratings correctly reflect this. Further study is proposed to evaluate this hypothesis.

I. Introduction

Establishing individual accountability in team assignments is of primary importance in every recognized approach to cooperative learning. It is unfair for those who fail to do their share of the work to receive the same grade as the rest of the group, a phenomenon called “hitchhiking.” Brown [3] describes one method of measuring the relative contribution of each team member using a peer-evaluation or “autorating” system to assign individual grades based on a group grade. For this technique to be effective, groups should be assigned and coached by the instructor according to the established practices of cooperative learning. In the study described here, the peer evaluations completed by students do not actually influence student grades, but are used as formative and summative feedback for students.

This paper expands a body of research studying a peer evaluation instrument in a variety of con- texts. Kaufman, Felder, and Fuller [1] used a modified form of Brown’s instrument at North Carolina State University. (The acronym “KFF” is used here to refer to this paper.) In the major- ity white population of the KFF study, no gender bias was detected, and minority students on av- erage received lower ratings and gave higher ratings than non-minority students, with the differ- ences being statistically significant in one class but not in another class. Layton and Ohland [2] confirmed the same conclusions in a study at North Carolina A&T State University, in a majority black population—there was still no gender bias, and minority students (mostly black) were again found to receive lower ratings and give higher ratings than non-minority students. (“L&O I” refers to this study.) In an effort to eliminate the observed racial bias, the instrument for peer evaluation and the administration of it were modified in the present study and in a second study by Layton and Ohland (The study parameters for the second study by Layton and Ohland (“L&O

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright ? 2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Ohland, M., & Finelli, C. (2001, June), Peer Evaluation In A Mandatory Cooperative Education Environment Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--9643

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2001 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015