Co-Evaluation in Education: Characteristics, Advantages, Disadvantages

Do you want to know what the co-evaluation technique in education is? Here we'll explain what it is, its advantages and disadvantages.
Co-Evaluation in Education: Characteristics, Advantages, Disadvantages
Mara Amor López

Written and verified by the psychologist Mara Amor López.

Last update: 12 June, 2023

Assessment in education is the process used to find out whether students have managed to achieve the necessary knowledge for their learning to be adequate. But there’s also co-evaluation in education, which is what we’ll talk about in the following lines.

The person who evaluates doesn’t always have to be the teacher; the students themselves can self-evaluate by correcting their own work or co-evaluate, evaluating the work done by their peers.

What is co-evaluation?

The co-evaluation technique consists of the students themselves doing the evaluation of their peers, observing, examining, and assessing their work.

This process has evaluation criteria that are usually defined by the teacher and that will help the students to evaluate the quality and the result of their peers to find out if they’ve acquired the expected learning.

A black male teacher teaching a highschool class.

Each student plays two roles. On the one hand, they’re evaluated for their work, demonstrating that they’ve acquired the required knowledge, and, on the other hand, as evaluators of their peers through a rubric provided by the teacher.

The characteristics of co-evaluation in education

We can highlight several characteristics of this technique.

Its use in group work

This technique is widely used in teamwork where one or all the components evaluate the performance of the others, how they’ve helped to carry out the work, if any problem has arisen, if they have the necessary knowledge, etc.

Student evaluator and object of evaluation

In individual work, the student is evaluated by other peers and, in turn, is the evaluator of others. When this technique is used, constructive criticism is encouraged, as no one will say the things that the other has done wrong in a bad way, as they wouldn’t like to be told that way either. Therefore, there’s a feedback that benefits both parties.

Individual work

Here, the student also acts as the evaluator of their peers, but unlike in the group evaluation, here, each student only corrects one classmate, not all of them.

Co-evaluation in education helps to control emotions

With the co-evaluation technique the emotional intelligence of the students is promoted, as when it’s their turn to evaluate, they have to control their emotions about that classmate and keep their corrections from being inappropriate.

Saving time

When the students themselves are the ones who correct the work of their classmates, this saves time for the teacher, as they don’t have to correct all the work of the students in the class.

Aspects to take into account

Before using co-evaluation as a technique in class, some aspects should be taken into account, such as the following:

  • It’s not always possible to apply co-evaluation in education, although it’s a very useful tool.
  • It’s not advisable to use it at the beginning of the course or at the beginning of a topic, as students don’t yet have the necessary knowledge to carry it out.
  • The topic to be evaluated should be explained before using this method. Afterward, the teacher will give indications on how the students should evaluate and what guidelines they should follow.
  • In the explanation of this technique, the teacher should make it clear that when students give the results of the evaluation to their peers, they shouldn’t make unpleasant and inappropriate comments.
  • The comments to be made should always be constructive.
  • This technique shouldn’t be used as a personal attack against those we don’t like.
High school students using technology in class.

The advantages of co-evaluation

The use of this method has a series of advantages that we’re going to see next:

  • It favors group work.
  • It promotes analytical skills.
  • It encourages children’s responsibility.
  • They learn the difficulty of carrying out an evaluation.
  • They learn to value the work of their peers and how it’s evaluated.

The disadvantages of co-evaluation in education

Although it’s a useful strategy, it also has disadvantages, which is why many teachers prefer to do the evaluation themselves.

  • Difficulty in trusting students to correct objectively.
  • Sometimes, students have neither the knowledge nor the experience to perform this task.
  • The existence of conflicts between peers may prevent them from doing the co-evaluation objectively.
  • Using peer evaluation as a form of revenge for any existing conflict between them.

In short, co-evaluation in education is a technique with great advantages, although it also has disadvantages. Students learn to identify the knowledge they’ve acquired and that which they haven’t through the practical experience provided by this method.

This technique should be used as long as the teacher has ensured that the content to be evaluated has been taught and that they trust that their students will make this evaluation in a fair manner. If they observe that the children aren’t sufficiently mature and capable of differentiating personal matters from educational ones, this technique is a waste of time.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.