Loss aversion as a motivator for engagement with peer assessment

Gillanders, Robert, Karazi, Shadi and O'Riordan, Fiona (2020) Loss aversion as a motivator for engagement with peer assessment. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 57 (4). pp. 424-433. ISSN 1470-3297


Loss aversion has been shown to influence decision making in a host of social and economic
contexts. This paper presents a novel assessment strategy that seeks to address issues of
student engagement and academic integrity through the combination of the concepts of loss
aversion and peer-assessment. Students faced the possibility of losing a small number of the
marks they had previously “earned” in a task in which they were required to accurately grade
a peer’s work. A detailed rubric was designed to support students grading the work. Based
on data collected via a survey and interviews, we show that students, despite disliking this
assessment strategy, were more engaged in the assessment and felt that their critical thinking
skills were enhanced as a result of this approach. The implications from this study includes
the need for detailed guidance for students through, for example, rubrics, lecturer accessibility
and exemplars.

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