Studies in Higher Education vol:36 issue:6 pages:719-735
The output of peer assessment in higher education has been increasingly investigated in recent decades. However, this output is evaluated against a variety of quality criteria, resulting in a cluttered picture. This article analyses the different conceptualisations of quality that appear in the literature. Discussions about the most appropriate quality criteria for the output of peer assessment should be brought back to the underlying differences in goals. The most obvious goal is its use as assessment tool, and the learning goal of peer assessment has also been well-established. Investigating the literature more closely yields three additional goals: installation of social control; preparation for self-monitoring and self-regulation in lifelong learning; and active participation of students in the classroom. Each goal results in different quality criteria. Only the criteria that are congruent with the goal that one is trying to achieve should be considered when evaluating the quality of peer assessment.