the e-Assessment Association

University of Edinburgh – Peer Assessment at Scale

University of Edinburgh – Peer Assessment at Scale

"The Edinburgh Global department at the University of Edinburgh offers a Go Abroad Fund which provides financial support for students to undertake a short-term international experience linked to their studies. However, the popularity of the scheme created the challenge of how to select 200 successful applicants from around 1,100 entrants.

PebblePad proved to be the only technical solution available to meet the fundamental requirements of the project."

Once PebblePad was identified as the platform to run the application process, the user experience was considered. Whilst the University of Edinburgh has an Enterprise License, the team could not be sure that every student would have yet encountered a module or programme incorporating PebblePad. No assumptions could therefore be made about familiarity with the system.

Furthermore, after submitting their work, students would also be acting as tutors in order to mark their peers’ applications. In a tutor role, the applicants would need to mark anonymous submissions to reduce bias. With the user experience at the forefront, Robert had to design a solution that would not inhibit participation from either user perspective. PebblePad’s flexibility with permissions allows one member to act in different roles. Situating all activity in ATLAS both enabled students to act in both roles and also contained all activity in one workspace.

The Go Abroad team certainly didn’t want the students to need to learn to navigate the ATLAS interface in order to assess their cohort. Two features of the system support the process, benefitting the project. PebblePad allows customised help text to be viewed by assessors when giving feedback, so Robert added additional instructions to provide just in time guidance for the students. Secondly, the save prompt that automatically shows in the feedback panel minimises the risks of students losing feedback.

Whilst they seem small details on the surface, Robert points out that even a small percentage of students who do not follow the process can lead to an administrative headache through additional support.

These features were a real bonus for the design of the Go Abroad project implementation. The students’ submissions must remain anonymised throughout process. Anonymity is one of the biggest advantages that ATLAS offers over other assessment systems; the students can never see whose work they are marking, but the staff members can. This flexibility in ATLAS enables the peer marking process to run smoothly, with tutors and administrators being able to monitor activity and the tutors continuing the assessment after completion of the first round of marking.


To read more about the solution in practice click here to go to the full case study.

Share this: