Knowing HE standards: How good are students at evaluating academic work?

Jon Guest*, Robert Riegler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To become effective learners, students need to develop good evaluative judgment skills. Unfortunately, numerous studies find that self-evaluation estimates provided by undergraduates often differ significantly from the marks awarded by the tutor. This suggests that students either have a rather poor grasp of the assessment criteria, or they find it difficult to apply standards to their own work because of their emotional investment. They may demonstrate a better understanding of standards when asked to judge the work of their peers. We use data from a cohort of 2nd year undergraduates to compare the ability of students to accurately self- and peer-evaluate an assessed essay. We find that peer evaluation is more accurate, on average, than self-evaluation but shows greater dispersion, and there is limited evidence that misconceptions about standards are consistent across self- and peer-evaluation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)714-728
JournalHigher Education Research & Development
Issue number3
Early online date6 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript version of the following article, accepted for publication in Higher Education Research & Development. Jon Guest & Robert Riegler (2021) Knowing HE standards: how good are students at evaluating academic work?, Higher Education Research & Development. It is deposited under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


  • Peer-evaluation
  • evaluation accuracy
  • evaluation consistency
  • evaluation design
  • self-evaluation


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