My master’s project was based on the development and improvement of a peer grading system on Submitty. Peer grading is the process in which students of a course grade other students of that course in place of an instructor or other course staff. A course can benefit from functional peer grading in two key ways. First, it lessens the workload on course staff by shifting the task of grading assignments to the students. This is essential for Massive Open Online Courses, which can have up to 30,000 students, and the. and would provide a new way for students to learn. Therefore, when developing Submitty Peer Grading, we focused on making it easy to implement for an instructor while providing ways for students to learn and interact.

Peer Grading System

My first and largest contribution was building the Peer Grading system alongside Evan Maicus and Barbara Cutler. This current version would be used as follows:

Coding of the peer grading system required changing Submitty’s SQL Databases and PHP Classes to introduce and differentiate between Peer Components/ Gradeables and non-Peer Components/Gradeables. It also required logical changes to Submitty’s PhP backend, which governs how assignments are graded and each user group has access to. Finally, various UI elements had to modified or added using Twig and Javascript.

Students Giving Feedback to Peer Graders

Which the current Peer Grading System was functional, it did not allow the level of student interaction we aimed for. We were also worried that some students were less likely to receive quality feedback, based on who was assigned to grade them. To address these problems, we created a system which allows students to give the student-graders who graded them feedback on how helpful their comments were. Student graders will be able to see this feedback, letting them know how their grading was useful. Peer feedback is used as follows

In the future, we plan to use this feedback and other measurements (like class performance) to develop a multi-dimensional metric, which can be used to sudo-randomly distribute peers in such a way that students are more likely to receive similar grades and comment quality. We are currently writing a paper about this metric and its possible use.