Publication Details

Walker, R and Barwell, G, Click or clique? Using educational technology to address students' anxieties about peer evaluation, International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 3(1), 2009, p 1-20.


Peer bias is recognised as a primary factor in negative student perceptions of peer assessment strategies. This study trialled the use of classroom response systems, widely known as clickers, in small seminar classes in order to actively engage students in their subject’s assessment process while providing the anonymity that would lessen the impact of peer pressure. Focus group reflection on the students’ impressions of the peer evaluation process, the use of clickers, and their anxieties about potential peer bias were analysed in the light of the results of teacher and class evaluations of each individual student presentation. The findings revealed that students recognised the value of peer assessment in promoting class engagement and active learning, despite their ongoing resistance to the practice of peer review. An unexpected finding suggested that the clickers, selected as an educational technology for their appeal and ease of use by the ‘digital native’ student already familiar with a variety of mobile communication and gaming devices, reinforced student perception that the peer review process was akin to a popularity contest.