Dynamic Peer-Assessment Project

Project overview

The Dynamic Peer-Assessment Project (2014-2016) investigated the use of peer assessment (PA) as a dynamic learning tool which can enhance English as Foreign Language (EFL) students’ writing skills in secondary education. It aimed to develop a PA implementation model for secondary school classes.

The overall goal was to enable educators to improve students’ performance and motivation, particularly in the area of EFL writing.

More information

In the last two decades, teachers, researchers and educational authorities expressed their concern for EFL (English as a Foreign Language) students’ poor writing performance and failure in formal tests (Lee, 2009; Meletiadou, 2013; Pavlou et al., 2005; Tsagari et al., 2015).

Research has indicated that peer assessment can be successfully employed as a tool for improving writing skills and supporting a better integration of teaching/instruction with assessment of progress in learning (Falchikov et al., 2000). However, the use of PA and teacher assessment (TA) in secondary education has not yet been widely investigated (Tsivitanidou et al., 2011).

The present project focused on an intervention study which employed a pre- post-test quasi-experimental design and focused on PA of EFL writing skills in the Cypriot secondary education.

It aimed to explore:

  • the effect of PA and TA on EFL students’ writing performance as this was indicated by their pre- and post-test essay marks in contrast to TA only
  • the impact of PA and TA on EFL students’ writing quality as opposed to TA only
  • EFL students’ attitudes towards PA after the PA implementation
  • EFL teachers’ perceptions of PA.

Participants of the study were:

  • twenty groups of ten Cypriot post-intermediate adolescent EFL students (n= 200 student);
  • 20 qualified EFL teachers, and
  • an external assistant.

All participants received adequate training in PA methods. Data was analysed using a variety of qualitative and quantitative methods. 


The study outcomes indicated that PA and TA can have a moderately positive impact on students’ writing performance affecting all aspects of writing (mechanics, organisation, content, vocabulary, genre and language use) and a similarly significant impact on EFL students’ writing quality (lexical complexity, fluency, accuracy, grammatical complexity). The impact was more profound on low-achieving students who are in greater need of the benefits that PA can offer.

Teachers and students’ attitudes towards PA were favourable and they all expressed their wish to use PA in the future. These results may contribute to linguistic theory by suggesting that language learning grows and skills may be adequately developed in the appropriate learning environment in which PA is used as a dynamic learning tool.

PA is anticipated to make a significant contribution to the context field of education if:

  • sufficient training and support is provided to all participants
  • carefully designed tools are employed to familiarize the learners with the PA process
  • PA is introduced gradually and used on a regular basis as early as possible that is even in primary education, and 
  • the emphasis is on the formative use of PA as a dynamic learning-oriented tool employed by teachers to enhance students’ skills.
  • Read the PhD thesis.
  • Meletiadou, E. & Tsagari, D. (2022a). Exploring teachers’ perceptions of the use of peer assessment in EFL test-dominated writing classes. Recent Development in Language Testing and Assessment Special Issue. Languages, 7(1), 16.
  • Meletiadou, E. (2022b). Learners’ perceptions of peer assessment: Implications for their willingness to write in an EFL classroom. International Journal of Teacher Education and Professional Development. IGI.
  • Meletiadou, E. (2021a). Opening Pandora’s box: How does peer assessment affect EFL students’ writing quality?. Languages, 6(3), 115.
  • Meletiadou, E. (2021b). Exploring the impact of peer assessment on EFL students’ writing performance. IAFOR Journal of Education, 9(3), 77-95.
  • Inclusion of formative assessment methods in the Curriculum provided by the Ministry of Education and Culture in Cyprus for primary, secondary and tertiary education.

The current study has various pedagogical implications for educators, parents, and students. Firstly, instructors who ask their students to review their peers’ writing should recall how difficult it is to accomplish the tasks involved in responding to written scripts efficiently.

It can also be difficult, even for experienced writers, to respond effectively to the comments they receive from reviewers of their work. It is essential, then, that the teacher carefully plans the guidance s/he will give to his/her students on how to conduct and utilise PA.

Therefore, educators need to identify the skills for PA like reading skills (locating a writer’s main point etc.), writing skills (writing constructive comments), and collaborative skills (phrasing comments in a helpful way). Then, they need to develop a coherent plan by integrating PA into the course. Finally, they formulate clear and specific instructions that the students need to follow as they use the PA rubric to review a peer’s essay and how to use the constructive comments they receive during PA.

Second, educators are expected to emphasize the need for PA as an essential part of the writing process in which all successful writers engage at some point. Educators need to remind students that the process of writing involves three steps: drafting, revising, and editing.

PA is helpful to student writers when it is utilized between the drafting and revision stages, or after each student has produced a complete draft, but while there is still time to make substantial changes.

The purpose of PA as a prelude to revision is to help the writer determine which parts of the paper are effective as it is, and which are unclear, incomplete, or unconvincing. A writer might learn to be more conscious after reviewing his/her peers.

In order to maximise the positive outcomes of PA, issues like learners’ proficiency level, tasks and monitoring must be addressed. The lesson should start with simple writing tasks to more challenging ones.

This way, learners can be trained to give their feedback step by step. Learners can also be coached to offer feedback at different levels namely on content, organization, grammar, vocabulary, and mechanics. PA processes can help students learn how to receive and give feedback which is an important part of most work contexts.

More implications and recommendations are available in the form of the published articles mentioned in the project outputs section.