Co-assessment: what it is, characteristics, advantages and disadvantages

Assessment is a necessary process in any educational process. Knowing the extent to which students have acquired the knowledge presented in the classroom is critical to knowing how effective learning is.

However, who can assess it does not always have to be the teacher. Students can be involved in this process, both by self-evaluating, that is, evaluating their own work, and by co-evaluating, evaluating the fact by their peers.

Then we will focus on the co-assessment, Its main characteristics, application, advantages, difficulties and an example.

    What is co-assessment?

    The co-evaluation consists essentially of that the assessment of student work is carried out by the students themselves, observing, analyzing and valuing the work of their classmates. This is a process carried out in pairs, based on predefined criteria, usually suggested by the teacher, which will be used to assess the performance and quality of classmates, in order to understand whether they have acquired the learning. that is expected of them.

    All students fulfill two roles simultaneously. On the one hand, they are assessed with their own work, in which they have to show that they have acquired the theoretical knowledge presented in class; and on the other hand, there is the role of the assessors, applying the practical knowledge taught in the marking session, knowing how to use an exchange or a rubric and trying to put aside any feelings they may have towards the student in order to which they evaluate in order to be able to make a correction as objective as possible.

    Characteristics of this method for evaluating

    There are several characteristics that we can highlight from the co-assessment, here they are explained in a synthetic way.

    1. Used in collaborative work

    Co-assessment is a tool that generally used in collaborative work, i.e. work done in groups. One or all members of the group appreciate the work of others, how they contributed to the completion of the work, whether they have shown that they have the knowledge expected of them, whether there has been a problem …

    2. Used in individual work

    Co-assessment can also be used in individual work. here the situation is similar to the role played by the teacher analyzing the work of his pupils, only that each pupil corrects only the work of a classmate, Not at all.

    3. The student acts as assessor and assessor

    Especially in individual work, the student acts as both assessor and assessor simultaneously. He is evaluated because he has also done a job and another classmate is evaluating him, and he is evaluating because he is evaluating the work of another student.

    Knowing this, the student tends to criticize his partner constructivelySince he understands that in the same way that he wouldn’t like to be told things he did wrong, he shouldn’t say them like that either. Comments that are beneficial to both parties are encouraged.

    4. Emotion control

    This tool helps better understand how to correct and identify own mistakes and those of others which allows us to be more aware of the mastery of the content explained in class.

    However, in addition to this, the emotional capacities of the students are improved, because when they are given a task that involves a great deal of responsibility, the student is motivated and in control of their emotionality, trying to be as objective as possible. and avoiding any bias towards the evaluator to make him make an inappropriate correction.

    5. Save time

    Asking students to correct the work of their classmates themselves saves a lot of time for the teacher, because he does not have to correct all the work of the 20 to 30 students who make up the class.

      Aspects to consider

      Co-assessment is a useful tool, but it is not always possible to apply it. It is not recommended to apply it at the start of the school year or at the start of a course topicMainly because students do not have knowledge that can be assessed and are not expected to do their homework well or know what to correct. For this to work, first the topic to be assessed has been explained, then the teacher must explain to the student that they will be assessed among their classmates and, finally, give them instructions on how to do.

      Students should be urged not only to see the mistakes their classmates may have made, but to think that the work they themselves do can fall into the hands of a more or less strict classmate. Everyone should be as objective as possible, but they should also do their job to the best of their ability because it is not the teacher who evaluates, but someone whom they don’t know how well they can. consider an error or an inappropriate way to answer an exercise.

      During the explanation, they will evaluate the work of others, the teacher must educate students to avoid being rude or making inappropriate comments when giving comments. It’s about learning by testing your knowledge and identifying how well or not others dominate them, it shouldn’t become a personal attack or a strategy to ruin the term for someone we feel bad about. Constructive comments must be made.


      While some of the benefits of applying co-assessment have been suggested in the features section, below we will see the main ones that this tool involves.

      • They learn to value the evaluation process and the performance of their peers.
      • Responsibility is encouraged.
      • They learn the difficulty of an assessment.
      • Collaborative work is encouraged.
      • They develop analytical skills.
      • This is an opportunity to share learning strategies together.


      While co-assessment is a very useful tool, it also has its drawbacks. The reason most teachers prefer to use the traditions of assessment, that is, to mark all the work themselves, is that it is a much more standardized process. Outraged, it is hard to believe that students will correct objectively and appropriatelyAs they do not always have the necessary knowledge or experience in addition to which there can always be interpersonal conflicts in the classroom.

      Co-assessment instruments

      Normally, when a co-assessment exercise is introduced in the classroom, the teacher explains how the work of other classmates is to be assessed and distributes a document that helps standardize the correction. This document can be a rubric or an estimation scale, in which it is indicated whether the work of the company meets different criteria. They contain a series of statements with levels or values ​​and that, if completed, different marks are given to the work that has been received.

      Usually, the subject or content to be assessed is listed at the top of the assessment scale and, in the box, the name of the student being assessed is placed in a box. The first column lists the aspects to be assessed in the form of statements (for example, “Your work is free of spelling errors”) and the following columns include the levels of achievement (for example, always – sometimes – never).

      Regardless of the topic or aspect being assessed, it is common to place it at the end of the rubric or rating scale. a box that serves as a section for suggestions, areas for improvement or comments. Here, if the evaluator considers it as such, comments will be written as comments to the student to reflect on these errors that he may have made and draw from them. lessons.


      Co-assessment is a very useful tool in the field of education. Among its main advantages, it allows students to participate in the learning process, being aware of the knowledge expected of them and knowing how to identify what they have acquired. It is also a tool that breaks with traditional teacher-student assessment, which saves teachers time and gives their students practical experience.

      Whenever the teacher has given directions on how to do this, make sure that the content to be assessed has already been taught and have confidence that his students will assess their classmates. in an honest and fair way, it becomes a really useful and profitable tool. Conversely, if the student is not engaged or not mature enough to distinguish between staff and academics, it becomes a waste of time.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Valenzuela, JR (2007). Learning assessments in distance education; Common practices and uses of technological resources.
      • Díaz B .. F. (1993). Methodological approaches to program design: makes a global proposal. Technological magazine in educational communication. No. 21.

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