Thanks a lot for your response Tom 🙌! As you correctly point out, using peer assessment as the only way to provide students with feedback is definitely challenging.
My general opinion is that learning is hard and uncomfortable by design. It is when you are doing challenging things outside of your existing area of knowledge that you learn something new. That students “don’t have yet the knowledge and experience to form and defend opinions and judge a piece of work of their peers” is exactly the reason I think peer feedback has the potential to provide a large amount of learning. But of course this requires hard work from the students.
I recently heard the quote
“Feedback should be more work for the receiver than the donor” — Dylan Wiliam
which I think points to a common flaw in how people think about peer feedback. One should not look at peer feedback as a replacement for teacher feedback. Peer feedback is incredibly strong only when students spend the necessary time on writing helpful feedback, and when they use the feedback they receive to improve their own work.
Having the teacher moderate the process is the easiest solution, and I think that it is the right way to go for any teacher / class where peer feedback is still a new concept. Students need to be trained in giving feedback, receiving feedback and working with feedback. It is the teachers role is to help students develop this skill.
When we have developed Peergrade we have thought a lot about this last challenge. How do enable the teacher to effectively moderate a peer feedback process so all students are sure they always receive good feedback and learn as much as possible. I am not sure we have solved the problem completely yet, but I know that we are making good progress and I believe that we are further than others already 😊.