Self- and Peer Assessment in Massive Open Online Courses

Wilfried Admiraal, Bart Huisman, Maarten Van de Ven


Open online distance learning in higher education has quickly gained popularity, expanded, and evolved, with Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) as the most recent development. New web technologies allow for scalable ways to deliver video lecture content, implement social forums and track student progress in MOOCs. However, we remain limited in our ability to assess complex and open-ended student assignments. In this paper, we present a study on the quality of self- and peer assessments in three MOOCs. In general, the quality of self-assessments and peer assessments was low to moderate, suggesting that both self-assessment and peer assessment should be used as assessment for learning instead of assessment of learning. Based on low correlations with final exam grades and other assessment forms, we conclude that self-assessments might not be a valid way to assess students’ performance in MOOCs. Yet the weekly quizzes and peer assessment significantly explained differences in students’ final exam scores, with one of the weekly quizzes as the strongest predictor. Future research on MOOCs implies a reconceptualization of education variables, including the role of assessment of students’ achievements.

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International Journal of Higher Education
ISSN 1927-6044 (Print) ISSN 1927-6052 (Online) Email:

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