Michael O'Haere: Peer Evaluation of Class Participation:
I… take as given that the correct criterion for this part of a grade is student’s contribution to the learning of others. The problem this criterion presents is that it cannot be observed outside the heads of those doing the learning…. On the principle that I have the right to demand information (like answers on exams) that I need to make a fair performance evaluation, I demand information about their learning from others…. As Lauren Resnick pithily observed, “in school, collaboration is cheating; in the workplace, it’s essential”. When I write letters of recommendation, I often have occasion to include the following text, and I think it has a good effect:
Student X took my course Y in semester Z [paper, projects, yada yada]…. In this course, class participation counts for 00% of the grade [varies from 25% to 40%] and is assessed by the other students in a confidential survey. Wallflowers, unprepared students, and air hogs tend to do poorly on this element. X received a CP grade [of G/in the top 00% of the class], and I consider this an indicator of real leadership potential.