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Peer review can be used as a teaching methodology to improve students’ learning and critical thinking. However teachers have many concerns about the reliability and validity of students’ grading.
The paper describes the application of peer review as a teaching strategy to the large course of Biomedical Informatics in the School of Medicine at the University of Florence. The aim of the study was twofold: (I) assessing the validity of students’ reviews, calculating the correlation between students’ assigned score and instructor’s assigned score; (II) assessing the validity of student’s self-evaluation, calculating the correlation between student’s assigned score and teacher’s assigned score. To this aim a statistical analysis was performed.
The results showed a moderate concordance between the marks assigned by peers and those assigned by the instructor. Neverthless the comparison between the teacher median and the peer-review median shows a minimal difference that has almost no effect on changing the final grade. Instead, there was poor concordance between the marks attributed by the instructor and those relating to the student’s self-evaluation.. Even if further studies are needed, the promising results can begin to dispel teachers’ concerns about students’ grading skills that prevent the application of peer review. On such basis, the use of peer review systems can streamline the application of peer.review in classes with a high number of students reducing the workload on the teacher.
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