Can students reliably and fairly assess the work of peers that are known to them? A solution to this problem (if it exists) is anonymity, but what about open learning situations where anonymity is not possible? And is anonymity desirable anyway? This well conducted study shows that anonymity improves the reliability of peer marking - but it's not essential - training of markers improves outcomes to the same extent.
The role of anonymity in peer assessment. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education 22 Apr 2016 doi: 10.1080/02602938.2016.1174766
This quasi-experimental study aimed to examine the impact of anonymity and training (an alternative strategy when anonymity was unattainable) on students’ performance and perceptions in formative peer assessment. The training in this study focused on educating students to understand and appreciate formative peer assessment. A sample of 77 students participated in a peer assessment activity in three conditions: a group with participants’ identities revealed (Identity Group), a group with anonymity provided (Anonymity Group) and a group with identities revealed but training provided (Training Group). Data analysis indicated that both the Anonymity Group and Training Group outperformed the Identity Group on projects. In terms of perceptions, however, the Training Group appreciated the value of peer assessment more and experienced less pressure in the process than the other two groups.