Ph.D Student | Biton Yaniv |
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Subject | Incorporating Peer Assessment in Pre-Academic Mathematics Study |

Department | Department of Education in Science and Technology |

Supervisor | Professor Boris Koichu |

Full Thesis text - in Hebrew |

The goal of the present study was to identify and characterize the potential of peer-assessment tasks for learning mathematics at pre-academic level. This potential was examined from three perspectives: the identification of learning opportunities for students created by the incorporation of peer-assessment tasks in mathematics lessons, the attitudes of the students towards peer assessment and the correspondence between the students’ evaluation of their peers’ knowledge and the major traditional form of assessment, namely, written exams.

The main findings of the study are:

- The peer assessment activities instigated meaningful interactions among the evaluators and among the evaluators and evaluees. In particular, the students negotiated the evaluation criteria, mathematical validity of the solutions under evaluation and details of the grading processes. The discussions in small groups exposed the students to solutions of other evaluators and to the necessity to express their own understanding of the problems.
- The students that took part in the research expressed positive attitude towards peer assessment. This was apparent both from the questionnaire and the interviews conducted during the research. The students repeatedly expressed the opinion that engagement in peer assessment helped them in learning about various ways to solve the same problem as well as about their own and their peers’ mistakes. They also appreciated the opportunity to look at their problem-solving experiences from the teacher perspective.
- Each group of students constructed their own evaluation criteria. However, significant correlations between the students` grades on the problems used in peer assessment activities and similar problems that appeared in the written exams were found. This finding sheds new light on reliability of peer assessment and points out the seriousness of students as evaluators.

The research has theoretical and practical contributions. At the theoretical level, the research enriches the existing body of knowledge dealing with alternative assessment in general and with peer assessment in the study of mathematics in particular. The current research also enriches knowledge about learning opportunities for teachers, as a result of observing how the students develop the evaluation criteria and grade the other students work. A practical contribution of the current research is two-fold. First, the research contributes to the body of knowledge of how it is possible to incorporate peer assessment in teaching mathematics in an institution adherent to traditional forms of assessment. Second, the research contributes to our knowledge about how to design and conduct peer-assessment tasks in the context of pre-academic level mathematics.