Peer assessment and learning in a technology-assisted leadership development center
John Francis Coughlin, George Mason University, United States
George Mason University . Awarded
A need exists to develop the leadership of school principals, who are the key initiators of school excellence. Prospective and existing principals can learn about the practical role of the principal from simulation opportunities lacking in many programs. This study investigates peer-assessment and learning in a technology-assisted leadership development center. The sample consists of students attending an education leadership program (N = 161). Study data encompass three years of development center results from participants using computer programs. Participants are nonexpert assessors acting as peer assessors. The quantitative procedures address research hypotheses concerning peer-documentation and longitudinal learning, results obtained using expert assessors and peer assessors, and an examination of the factors that may contribute to better performance.
A literature review includes the history of assessment and development centers, use of self- and peer-assessment, and collaborative and computer-assisted learning. The review concludes with a recommended framework for a leadership development center.
The findings show that peer-assessment in a collaborative learning environment provides significant gains in longitudinal learning two to three years later. Strong inter-rater correlations existed between peer assessors. Results of expert-documentation show significantly lower scores for the in-basket and fact-finding activities than the results documented by peers. Strong inter-rater correlations existed between expert and peer assessors. Experts documented the less observable, subjective performance indicators significantly lower than peers did. The study analyzed ten sample characteristics individually and in combination. Findings suggest that participants documenting an in-basket with either a peer or by themselves in the first semester show significant learning gains in six activities two to three years later. Participants enrolled in the program to seek an endorsement/second master's degree and participants who are currently in a central office or assistant principal position obtained significantly higher results. No statistical significance existed for the following factors: gender, race, certification level, grade point average, years in education, and years in administration. Personal motivation, upward mobility, and drive may show a significant relationship to improved performance.
Coughlin, J.F. Peer assessment and learning in a technology-assisted leadership development center. Ph.D. thesis, George Mason University.
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