Peer assessment in experiential learning: Assessing tacit and explicit skills in agile software engineering capstone projects

Fabian Fagerholm, Arto Vihavainen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference article in proceedingsScientificpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


To prepare students for real-life software engineering projects, many higher-education institutions offer courses that simulate working life to varying degrees. As software engineering requires not only technical, but also inter- and intrapersonal skills, these skills should also be assessed. Assessing soft skills is challenging, especially when project-based and experiential learning are the primary pedagogical approaches. Previous work suggests that including students in the assessment process can yield a more complete picture of student performance. This paper presents experiences with developing and using a peer assessment framework that provides a 360-degree view on students' project performance. Our framework has been explicitly constructed to accommodate and evaluate tacit skills that are relevant in agile software development. The framework has been evaluated with 18 bachelors- and 11 masters-level capstone projects, totaling 176 students working in self-organized teams. We found that the framework eases teacher workload and allows a more thorough assessment of students' skills. We suggest including self- and peer assessment into software capstone projects alongside other, more traditional schemes like productivity metrics, and discuss challenges and opportunities in defining learning goals for tacit and social skills.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2013 Frontiers in Education Conference
Subtitle of host publicationEnergizing the Future, FIE 2013 - Proceedings
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2013
MoE publication typeA4 Conference publication
EventFrontiers in Education Conference - Oklahoma City, United States
Duration: 23 Oct 201326 Oct 2013
Conference number: 43

Publication series

NameProceedings - Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE
ISSN (Print)1539-4565


ConferenceFrontiers in Education Conference
Abbreviated titleFIE
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityOklahoma City


  • Agile software engineering
  • Assessment metrics
  • Capstone project
  • Case study
  • Computer science education
  • Experiential learning
  • Peer assessment
  • Project-based learning
  • Self-assessment
  • Tacit skills
  • Teamwork


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