SPAs encourage students to really understand and evaluate a topic. To run an SPA in the classroom:
- Assign as normal.
- When students are ready, click the Start button in the Assignments list. Make sure you have enough time; an SPA cannot be stopped half way through. You can adjust the time allowed at the start point, but not after.
- Students will work through a 3-step process of write|judge|vote.
- When they are finished, you can access their answers from the Assignments list. Answers are ranked by the process but these ranks do not correlate direct to grades.
Structured Peer Assessment intro for students from on Vimeo (also on YouTube here).
Show this 2:15 orientation video to your students before they start.
SPAs work best with open questions that invite evaluation and explanation. They are not suitable for testing knowledge. When assigning, please draw students' attention to the judgement criterion: the teaching point is actually subtly encoded in this.
If your students are new to SPA, I recommend first running the introductory joke competition so they get used to the format. Set the timer to 10 minutes (from the default 25); this is quite enough for the short activity.
These examples are intended to spur your thinking about how you might use SPAs. If you have particular ideas for SPAs in your subject, add them to our database via this form
The questions are:
- Introductory activity: joke competition:
Enter a really funny joke. Offensive jokes, copying from the web or including your name will get you banned.
- Biology: cheetah vs. gazelle
Why can a cheetah run faster than a gazelle?
- Business studies: online monetisation
Yu Yan runs a popular YouTube channel teaching people the best way to smile, but she makes no money. How might she monetise the channel? Explain how your ideas would work.
- Chemistry: are metals plasmas?
Explain why metals are sometimes defined as plasmas. Feel free to Google the question before you start.
- Computing and Business Studies: impact of smartphones
People often want to buy the latest smartphone or other computing device, even though the devices they own still work. Discuss the impact of people wanting to upgrade to the latest smartphone. In your answer you might consider the impact on:
* ethical issues
* environmental issues
- Computing: Python program
Write an Python program to input a user's name and then to print that name 10 times.
- English or RE: The life-changing question
Finish this story in your own way:
Walking down the street one day, you met a homeless man selling the Big Issue. You asked him how he came to be homeless. He said "I will tell all about it, but in return you must agree to answer one question of mine. I warn you now, my question will change your life!". You agreed. And so....
- English: poetry competition
Write a poem that involves skating on a frozen lake.
- Geography: world cities
Where would you rather live; Singapore or Dubai? Why?
- History: Norman serfs
You are a serf in a Norman village. Describe your day.
- History: effect of the railways
What were the effects of Railways on Britain?
- Maths: volume of a dog
How would you measure the volume of a dog?
- Physics: the Niels Bohr barometer question
How could you use a barometer to determine the height of a tower? Show what data you would gather and how you would calculate the height from it.
- Xmas short story competition
Write a Christmas short story on the theme of "The elf who did not want to help".