. М., 2000.
2. Е а
. — М., 1989.
. — М., 1991.
7. http://pedsovet.su/load/138 (26.10.2012)
8. http://festival.1september.ru/articles/310026 (26.10.2010)
9. http://nsportal.ru/nachalnaya-shkola/raznoe/rabota-s-odarennymi-detmi-2 (26.10.2010)
The importance of peer and self-assessment (PSA) has been under investigation and educators’ discussion
“since the turn of the century” [1, p.114] as a result of growing interest in learner autonomy. In most reports,
PSA is recognized as less formal and consequently less threatening form of assessment in modern teaching. In
addition, they help to increase students’ self-conﬁ dence, motivation and promote autonomous learning because of
the sense of involvement which students experience while assessing themselves. In Kazakhstani teaching context
this approach to learners’ evaluation might cause misunderstanding among teachers because in a traditional system
the teacher is a “ﬁ gure of authority that guaranteed quality” [2, p.91].
Harris (1997) believes that self-assessment (SA) is a “pillar” [3, p.12] in terms of developing learners’ autonomy
and self-directed language learning. According to this author, SA tends to make learners more actively involved in
evaluation and responsible for learning by means of reﬂ ection on their strengths and weaknesses. After identifying
them, learners might become more aware of own success or necessity to improve and develop in learning. The
idea of developing responsibility for learning and self-improvement seems to be new in the Kazakhstani system of
education, where previously the emphasis tended to be more on a teacher ‘giving’ and evaluating knowledge rather
than helping students to gain that knowledge by themselves and estimate their own progress.
Along with SA such experts in the area as Black & William (1998) suggest considering peer assessment (PA).
A seemingly strong correlation between these two forms can be explained by the fact that after being able to
provide meaningful feedback on their own performance or after “carrying out systematic remedial learning work
for himself” [4, p.30], students would become capable of making use of peers’ feedback and making constructive
judgments about others’ work. These authors emphasize the signiﬁ cance of PA in the improvement of learners’
collaboration and recommend incorporating it as a part of classroom learning activity. However, the anticipated
problem with PSA might be that it demands time on the part of both teachers and students to be trained to do it
effectively and to become a kind of a ‘habit’ in the lessons. Particularly, in the existing long-established grading
system of our country traditionally it was only a teacher who had responsibility and competence to evaluate
The research undertaken by Sivan (2000) differentiates between 2 types of peer assessment: intra group (within
groups: group members assessing the contribution of an individual to the group work) and inter group (between
groups: class members assessing groups’ presentations of their work) assessment [5, p.196]. This approach could
be primarily helpful in making group projects or presentations. The second type (inter group) can be especially
valuable in initial stages of using PA in the classroom, when the whole group performance is assessed, for
preventing students’ anxiety about assessment. The intra group assessment would be effective for measuring
individual contribution to the group’s success in learning and, in this way, gaining encouragement from peers.
The essential effect why educators are supposed to implement PSA is to develop “transferrable skills” [6,
p.256], which Topping (1998) refers to negotiation skills, and diplomacy rather than pure grading or marking.
These skills are of greater value due to the fact that they can make learners not just passive recipients of assessment
outcomes but constructors of their own learning and desirable results. Through PSA learners could be offered
to develop strong social skills while achieving a consensus with the assessment criteria or choosing the best
PSA implementation strategies are likely to depend on the type of lesson or skills to be developed. In regard
to SA in developing writing skills, Cresswell (2000) rightly emphasizes the risk of students’ ample targeting of
grammar rules and spelling rather than focusing on “global concerns” [7, p.236] including content and organization,
logicality, relevance of ideas and appropriateness of content to the audience. In this case the use of PSA checklists
would be justiﬁ ed. Coyle et al justiﬁ cation for checklists is that they ‘make the assessment process overt’ [8, p.121]
i.e. the teacher is sure what elements his students should concentrate on and what learning outcomes are required
or desirable. Thus, a teacher might vary aspects which should be included in checklists ranging from grammatical
items to structural organization of a piece of writing.
In addition to checklists, one more important beneﬁ t of peer response highlighted by Hyland & Hyland (2006)
is that peers can provide “a sense of audience” [2, p.90], which tends to be “more authentic than teacher response”
[2, p.90]. The potential audience (peers) can let writers understand a written message from the point of view of a
reader and help to improve it, if and when necessary.
Methodology. Referring back to my teaching experience I can assume that I have never implemented this
assessment tool in my practice. The main reason might lie in the traditionally accepted approach to assessment
practices which involved marks ranging from “unsatisfactory” (2) to “excellent” (5). Now it remains unclear where
and how a separating line between them can be drawn and whether those grades genuinely reﬂ ect the nature or
essence of the learning process. That is why this part of my research attempted to involve students in providing
The writing lesson delivered among 11 teachers while in Professional Development Program (PDP) at
Nazarbayev University in 2011-2012 aimed to discover students-teachers’ capability to give constructive judgments
about the lessons as well as PSA effectiveness in avoiding typical mistakes in their own work and improving their
own and peers’ performance.
Table 1: self-assessment checklist results
eginning of the main
My lesson presented a mixture of process and product approaches to teaching writing. My assumption was that
when combined, familiarization with the product (sample article) would have made learners more aware of the
newspaper article features and, in this way, help learners work out the criteria for future evaluation of their own
article. On the other hand, such stages as redrafting and editing of a conventional process writing lesson seemed
to most carefully justify the use of peer response and self-monitoring because the goals of those stages are to
reconsider the original versions and with the help of peers’ evaluations try to improve them.
The material for my lesson was an authentic newspaper article “Kazakhstan zoo monkeys given wine to ‘ward
off’ ﬂ u” (from www.bbc.co.uk) chosen as a sample because of its’ familiar context for my learners.
Data analysis. The learners were offered to ﬁ ll in self-assessment checklists which consisted of 6 points and
it implied marking their own written articles on the scale from 1(‘poor’) to 5(‘well done’) at the end of the lesson.
Table1 represents this information.
Overall, teachers seemed to be quite fair with their marks with the exception of 2 learners (learner 10, learner
11 in table 1). Their either “excellent” achievement at the lesson or unwillingness to be fair can be explained as
a result of embarrassment which students might experience when they are ﬁ rstly asked to assess their own work.
From teaching perspective the results “can feed into future teaching” [9, p.107] that is to his future scheme of
work because a teacher realizes what aspects his learners still need to work on. It is obvious from the same table,
that the following lesson a teacher is likely to plan his lesson so that to cover question 4 and 6, where students
indicated uncertainty related to writing the second part of body and conclusions of their articles. The table also
demonstrates that almost all the learners succeeded with the ﬁ rst 3 points connected with the number of paragraphs,
title, subheading and the beginning of the main body.
More detailed contrastive analysis of points 3 and 6 in bar chart below reveals that the learners felt more
conﬁ dent when writing the ﬁ rst part of the body. They tended to be more certain about how to organize the most
important information in this part of their writing as none of them assessed themselves the lowest marks such
as “1” or “2”. Only one learner, that is 9.1%, had a “3” and the rest graded the highest scores for their work. In
relation to question 6, the overall trend is smoother in terms of a relatively even distribution of marks. The learners
evaluated their own work in different ways. The correlation between excellent and bad performance is vague,
which might mean that more corrective feedback or more practice is necessary in writing conclusions.
From learners’ angle, checklists are a valuable source of information since they are likely to help learners to
see their progress in the learning process and identify what are some weak zones which need being improved. In
addition, after students become more skilled in self-evaluation, checklists would help learners avoid over-reliance
on teachers and increase their self-awareness.
number of learners
Bar chart 1: contrastive analysis of questions 3 and 6
never experienced PSA neither as a learner nor as a teacher. 36.4% of the respondents conﬁ rmed they had used
PSA both in their teaching practice as well as being learners. A slightly more than a half of the group (54.6%) had
different answers: 18.2% tried PSA as learners but not in their teaching while 36.4% of teachers indicated that they
use PSA in the classroom.
Generally, regarding learners’ fairness and ability to pinpoint their own strong points and ﬂ aws, approximately
a quarter of teachers (27.3%) were optimistic about this capacity with the rest 72.8% teachers’ negative responds
or uncertainty about their ability to be fair. However, the same amount (72.8%) of teachers responded positively to
the question which was about their peers’ fairness at this particular lesson in identifying weak points after writing
the newspaper article. This might have happened because the participants of my lesson were teachers and they are
trained to provide feedback for their own learners. While in real classroom students might experience difﬁ culties
when assessing their peers for the ﬁ rst time. They would likely need time and skills to get used to the idea of being
an assessor of their peers’ work.
There were some pessimistic reactions to the question about how seriously they accept their peers’ marks.
27.3% of participants didn’t take it truly because either “they (peers) are not teachers” or students “take into
account only (my) instructor’s words”. There was also an opinion that “they (peers) are not conﬁ dent (competent)
enough in the area we are learning”.
As for some supportive views on PSA several learners really believed they became more aware about their
weak points – ‘help me to improve/evaluate’, ‘I need to work on them’, they (peers) are better at seeing my
mistakes’, ‘it helps to improve myself’, ‘when peers tell about your mistakes it is easier to understand’.
Despite the teachers’ previous doubts concerning students’ abilities to self-assess their performance, 45.5% of
teachers agreed on the necessity to use similar techniques with their learners and 54.6% expressed their interest to
PSA and were inclined to try it in their classrooms. None of them rejected the need to implement these techniques
in their own teaching practice. The main reasons were “involving them (learners) into a learning process”, making
students “feel free and comfortable”, building “some conﬁ dence”, making students “aware of their own strengths
and weaknesses”, being “autonomous and responsible” and “ﬁ nding out how the students and teacher succeeded”.
So, the presented results reveal that after experiencing PSA as learners, the participants favorably reconsidered
their attitude towards PSA as teachers.
To sum up, the crucial points of PSA in language learning and teaching are learners’ reﬂ ection, critical evaluation
of their own performance, developing learners’ autonomy, increasing responsibility for learning. It is obvious that
PSA is a new phenomenon for Kazakhstani pupils and teachers. Moreover, in the light of our country’s schooling
reforms in recent years, shifts in assessment practices might signiﬁ cantly affect current teaching and learning
1. Bullock, D. (2011). Learner self-assessment: an investigation into teachers’ beliefs. ELT J, 65 (2), 114-125.
2. Hyland,K., & Hyland,F. (2006). Feedback on second language students’ writing. Language Teaching, 39(02),
83-101. doi: 10.1017/S0261444806003399
3. Harris, M. (1997). Self-assessment of language learning in formal seƫ
4. Black, P., & William, D. (1998). Assessment and classroom learning. Assessment in education, 5(1), 7- 74.
Retrieved from ProQuest
5. Sivan, A. (2000). The implementation of peer assessment: an action research approach. Assessment in
6. Topping, K. (1998). Peer assessment between students in colleges and universities. Review of Educational
7. Cresswell, A. (2000). Self-monitoring in student writing: developing learner responsibility. ELT J, 54, 235-
8. Coyle, D., Hood, P., & Marsh, D. (2010). Content and language integrated learning. Cambridge, UK:
Cambridge University Press.
9. Spratt, M., Pulverness, A., & Williams, M. (2011). The TKT Course. Modules 1, 2 and 3. Cambridge, UK:
Cambridge University Press. Jackson, P. “Kazakhstan zoo monkeys given wine to ‘ward off ﬂ u” -http: // www.