Developing evaluative judgement

The ability to recognise the quality of their own work and that of others enables students to become life-long, independent learners.

What is evaluative judgement?
Evaluative judgement is defined as the ability to make decisions about the quality of one's own work and that of others (Tai, et al 2018). When students are given the opportunity to self-assess and experience peer-assessment, they develop confidence, assessment literacy, and the reflective and evaluative skills needed to become independent learners. Many peer assessment exercises, whether formal or informal, contribute to the development of evaluative judgement.

Supporting the development of evaluative judgement 
An explicit focus upon evaluative judgement allows students to focus upon what constitutes quality in their own work. Students recognise the value of peer review, stating "Once I peer reviewed other's work it made it easier to criticize my own work against the rubric."  – Bachelor of Animal Science student.

The FeedbackFruit Peer Review tool integrates with MyUni (Canvas) to enable instructors to allocate a diverse range of artefacts for review, including essays, reports, posters, videos, presentations and even performances, thus providing a rich assessment experience for students. A set of Principles and Guidelines accompany the adoption of the Peer Review tool.

Peer review activities include timelines, instruction, and review criteria, and educators can track students’ progress through each stage. Students can submit the task, provide de-identified feedback on their peers’ work, and reflect on the standard of their own work, using the same criteria and make changes before final submission.


This tool enables student to develop and demonstrate: 

  • self-awareness and reflective practice 
  • evaluative judgement and the capacity to give and receive constructive feedback 
  • the ability to evaluate another’s work and their own according to a set of objective criteria
  • the ability to bridge the gap between their own learning as a novice and the standard required to become an effective practitioner 

Explicitly incorporating peer review into course work enables students to become active agents of their own learning. However, it is important to note that use of peer review does not form a substitute for marking and feedback from an experienced practitioner. 

Dr Susan Hazel, Program Coordinator of the Bachelor of Science in Animal Behaviour, has used peer review to develop students’ evaluative judgement in the course Animal Management. Students conducted peer reviews of a written report, evaluating the work against a set of independently developed criteria, and had the opportunity to revise their original report based upon the feedback received. In general, the peer reviews given by students were constructive and high quality. The activity provided two-way learning, and there was an overall improvement in the final reports. Students reported that conducting peer reviews led to improvements in their own writing. To achieve success in the future, Susan recommends that time is created to ensure students are familiar with the rubric and how to review.

Watch Dr Hazel describe how peer review was used to support the development of evaluative judgement and improve learning outcomes in the course Animal Management.

Glen Wheatley (Adelaide Business School), also used the Peer Review tool to develop evaluative judgement among level three and postgraduate international business students. This included the use of one of the artefacts available via the platform, videos. Glen’s advice to others considering using this approach is to incorporate more content/teaching on how to give and receive feedback, including making this a key learning outcome for courses and programs of study. Glen recommends taking the time to induct students into providing feedback appropriately. Having a well-designed rubric with objective criteria is critical for success. This supports students to focus on how the work meets or does not meet the agreed standards. When adopting peer review activities, Glen recommends that you emphasise the benefits that peers can uniquely bring to the work.


Tai, J., Ajjawi, R., Boud, D., Dawson, P., & Panadero, E. (2018). Developing evaluative judgement: enabling students to make decisions about the quality of work. Higher Education, 76(3):467–481. 

Carless, D., (2015). Exploring learning-oriented assessment processes. Higher Education, 69:963-976 

Story written by Jo England, Learning Enhancement and Innovation.

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