This study explores the contribution that can be made by self and peer assessment to effective teaching and learning. The purpose of this research was to introduce an intervention to a group of students, many of whom had non-traditional academic backgrounds, with the intention that it might enhance their academic skills and lead to more effective learning. The impact on the students’ confidence in themselves as learners is considered and the establishment of a working model for implementing self and peer assessment is suggested. The participants in the research were a group of 11 higher education students who were studying in a further education college for a foundation degree in early childhood studies. An action research approach was taken to enable an examination of the impact of the intervention and to effect changes as the academic year progressed. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews, questionnaires, students’ self-assessment sheets and observations of peer assessment feedback between students. The findings indicate that, although time consuming in the initial stages, the intervention resulted in students becoming more reflective and self-critical leading to improved academic performance. Regular sharing and discussion of their work led to increased confidence in their perception of themselves as learners.
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