Laura Ketonen Exploring interconnections between student peer assessment, feedback literacy and agency E-mail:


This thesis aimed to advance the understanding of peer assessment, its dynamics, and its possibilities. The research involved multiple implementations of peer assessment in two lower secondary physics and chemistry classrooms in an urban school in Central Finland. The students (n = 29) were followed from the beginning of seventh grade to the middle of eighth grade. Data were collected using field notes, audio recordings, student interviews, students’ written work, and written peer feedback. The qualitative data analyses were driven partly by data and partly by theory.

The first study examined the dynamics of a single peer assessment, asking who benefits from peer assessment and why. The analysis of individual students’ pathways through peer assessment showed that receiving constructive critical feedback was beneficial for assessees. Otherwise, the students’ role was significant because their engagement in the original task and their understanding of formative assessment influenced the benefits they experienced.

The second study explored students’ feedback literacy (their understandings, capacities, and attitudes related to feedback) in the context of peer assessment, revealing a spectrum of skills that varied from neglecting feedback to actively seeking, processing, and using it. This variance must be accounted for when implementing peer assessment in the classroom. During the year of study, students developed their skills, implying that feedback literacy, so far a concern of higher education, can also be practiced at the secondary level.

The third study examined students’ agency, specifically their capacity to act in the social context of the classroom during peer assessment. The analysis revealed several forms of agency and showed that students were unequally challenged by peer assessment. Certain forms of agency that were essential for productive peer assessment—such as judging others’ work—were difficult for some students. The difficulties in exercising agency made students fall short in supporting one another’s learning. Hence, besides a sense of responsibility, knowledge, and skills, students need agency to participate productively in peer assessment.

Keywords: peer assessment, formative assessment, feedback, feedback literacy, agency, secondary school, physics, chemistry, science

Thesis reference:

Ketonen, L. (2021). Exploring interconnections between student peer assessment, feedback literacy and agency. [Doctoral dissertation, University of Jyväskylä].

Published articles:

Ketonen, L., Hähkiöniemi, M., Nieminen, P., & Viiri, J. (2020a). Pathways through peer assessment: Implementing peer assessment in a lower secondary physics classroom. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 18, 1465–1484.

Ketonen, L., Nieminen, P. & Hähkiöniemi, M. (2020b). The development of secondary students’ feedback literacy: Peer assessment as an intervention. The Journal of Educational Research, 113(6), 407-417.

(Third article is in review)

Contact information:


phone:            +358406523265

address:         Purokatu 16a, 40600 Jyväskylä