An Introduction to WebPA

This document is an in-depth look at why WebPA should be used to help in the peer assessment of students, by students, for group working. Both the history and current development of the project, as well as the reasons why WebPA should be adopted are covered.


To help develop a better understanding of the WebPA system, a look at the different sections of the system are included. All of the areas that an academic would use are introduced and the terms and concepts used in the system are explained. The scoring algorithm is also broken down and explained for the current version of WebPA running at Loughborough. This has been included to try and help explain the full system and how it works.



WebPA is an online peer assessment system, or more specifically, a peer-moderated marking system. It is designed for teams of students doing group-work, the outcome of which earns an overall group mark. Each student in a group grades their team-mates (and their own) performance. This grading is then used with the overall group mark to provide each student with an individual grade. The individual grade reflects the students contribution to the group.


The following is a very quick description of how the WebPA process works;



Some assessments may be formative, and there is always the possibility of disputes, so WebPA doesn’t automatically put the final marks into a student’s official record. That final step is left up to the individual academics.


About WebPA


Current Developments

The latest version of WebPA has now been completed and is in use at Loughborough University. The system is available for use by any Loughborough University department, and is being supported and maintained by the Centre for Engineering and Design Education (CEDE).


In the summer of 2006, the Engineering Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (engCETL) [now the CEDE] made a successful bid under JISC’s e-Learning Capital Programme. This new two year project has received funding of £200,000, and will allow further development to the current system, and help provide the system as an application to other UK universities.



A small group of academics at Loughborough University have been using online peer assessment since 1998. The online peer assessment system (PASS) was created as a small-scale project for the Wolfson School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, based on an existing paper based system used by Peter Willmot.


Later, Teaching Quality Enhancement Fund (TQEF) money was used to rewrite the system based on tutors’ feedback and the new system, renamed WebPA, was launched.


In 2004, Peter Willmot proposed a new Engineering Education Centre (now the CEDE) project to further improve the online system. This project has now culminated in the release of the new WebPA online system that is in use today.