Strategies for student peer assessment

A range of strategies and tools are available for peer assessment. Teachers should select and adapt these to suit the needs of their students at key assessment points.

Strategies and tools

You can support the students providing peer assessment by discussing the strategies and tools they can use.

Traffic lights

  • Green - shows the work addresses the success criteria
  • Amber – indicates room for improvement
  • Red – suggests that the success criteria is not evident.

Feedback bun

  • Top - a positive aspect of the work
  • Filling - a section of the work that could be improved
  • Bottom - a positive aspect of the work.

Weather gauge

  • Warm - signals positive feedback in relation to success criteria
  • Cold - indicates areas for improvement
  • Hints - provides advice for ‘raising the temperature’ to meet success criteria.

Stars and stairs

  • Stars - identify where the work meets the success criteria
  • Stairs - suggests steps for making improvements to the work.

PMI charts

  • Plus - meets criteria
  • Minus - criterion not evident
  • Interesting - something to improve.

SWOT analysis

  • Strengths - areas that show evidence of success
  • Weaknesses - sections that need work
  • Opportunities - aspects that could be further developed
  • Threats - obstacles to improvement.

Ladder of feedback

  • Step 1 - involves reading/listening/asking clarifying questions
  • Step 2 - identifies the strengths
  • Step 3 - identifies the areas for improvement
  • Step 4 - suggests ways to improve.


Checklists or rubrics provide a list of ‘look fors’ (which are an outline of success criteria) and can include descriptions of levels of performance to guide and focus assessment.

Thinking hats

Thinking hats explore a piece of work from different perspectives in order to focus the feedback:

  • white - facts
  • green - creativity
  • yellow - positives
  • red - reaction
  • blue - process behind the product
  • black - concerns.

Peer discussion and conferencing

Paired discussions and peer-to-peer conferences enable students to give feedback on a task to a peer and receive a response to their comments.


  • Ontario Ministry of Education (2010), Department of Education & Training Victoria, Rolheiser & Ross, 2001.
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