n South African Journal of Higher Education - Using the tutorial system to improve the quality of feedback to students in large class teaching

Volume 21, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



This article discusses the implementation of peer assessment in the tutorials system of an introductory macroeconomics course of 600+ students at Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa in order to improve their access to formative feedback. Peer assessment was introduced to improve the quality of feedback and learning pay-off for the students from the weekly tutorial tasks set for the course. The problems with tutor-graded, weekly tutorial exercises included the poor quality and poor presentation of work submitted by students, complaints by tutors (postgraduate students) of an overwhelming workload and complaints by students of the poor quality of the feedback from the tutors. Formal evaluation data on the effectiveness of using peer assessment from the point of view of the student experience and that of the tutors is presented. Results show that learning was enhanced for the majority of the class, but that some of the negative outcomes found in other studies, like stress and time consumption, were also experienced.

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