Peer assessing laboratory skills

PASCAL: Peer Assessed Skills in Chemistry and Analytical Laboratories

Team Members:  Michael Seery, Amy Price, Euan Doidge, Helen O'Connor


Background: In the PASCAL project, we aim to develop an innovative and sustainable mechanism for assessment of laboratory skills. Assessment of laboratory work typically involves the assessment of the report, rather than laboratory skills. Lack of assessment of practical skills means that students are often unclear about the appropriate way to assemble and use experimental apparatus. This problem will be accentuated in future years as practical skills in school move away from formal teaching to projects, and therefore the skillset of students beginning university will be difficult to predict.

Aims: PASCAL will involve students considering how to do several practical skills in three ways: (i) they will engage with the exemplar videos provided to prepare for their demonstration; (ii) they will demonstrate the skill in the laboratory while being be videoed by a peer with a mobile phone; (iii) they will review a peer’s video for assessment with a prescribed checklist. The activity will be delivered in a laboratory session and will receive marks, In addition, the student will receive a digital badge for completion of the skill, which they can showcase in their online portfolio.

Methodology: The project will be evaluated by considering asking student pre-and post-activity questions, examining student videos after the technique, and asking students to rate their confidence on completing techniques before and after the activity. It is hoped that successful outcomes from this project will be fed into assessment of laboratory skills in other years of our programmes.

Project Outcomes

  • Project web pages - Seery MK, Agustian HY, Doidge ED, Kucharski MM, O’Connor HM and Price A  (2017) 
  • Developing laboratory skills by incorporating    peer-review and digital badges  Chemistry Education Research and Practice   24 January 2017
  • Lykkeberg A, Konieczna Z, Seery M  (2017)  Using video demonstration and peer-feedback to develop laboratory skills
  • Seery, M. K., Agustian, H. Y., Doidge, E. D., Kucharski, M. M., O’Connor, H. M., & Price, A. (2017). “Developing laboratory skills by incorporating peer-review and digital badges”, Chemistry Education Research and Practice, 18, 403-419.

Final project report

Download the final project report (PDF)