An Example of Large-group Drama and Cross-year Peer Assessment for Teaching Science in Higher Education

Katherine Sloman, Richard Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Undergraduate students pursuing a three‐year marine biology degree programme (n = 86) experienced a large‐group drama aimed at allowing them to explore how scientific research is funded and the associated links between science and society. In the drama, Year 1 students played the “general public” who decided which environmental research areas should be prioritised for funding, Year 2 students were the “scientists” who had to prepare research proposals which they hoped to get funded, and Year 3 students were the “research panel” who decided which proposals to fund with input from the priorities set by the “general public”. The drama, therefore, included an element of cross‐year peer assessment where Year 3 students evaluated the research proposals prepared by the Year 2 students. Questionnaires were distributed at the end of the activity to gather: (1) student perceptions on the cross‐year nature of the exercise, (2) the use of peer assessment, and (3) their overall views on the drama. The students valued the opportunity to interact with their peers from other years of the degree programme and most were comfortable with the use of cross‐year peer assessment. The majority of students felt that they had increased their knowledge of how research proposals are funded and the perceived benefits of the large‐group drama included increased critical thinking ability, confidence in presenting work to others, and enhanced communication skills. Only one student did not strongly advocate the use of this large‐group drama in subsequent years.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1877-1893
JournalInternational Journal of Science Education
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Assessment
  • Drama
  • Environmental education
  • Learning environment
  • Peer assessment
  • Science education
  • University


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