Peer oral exams, a cross between oral exams and peer assessment, were designed and implemented in a high-enrollment undergraduate computer programming course for engineers. The intention was to leverage the educational and implementational advantages of both evidence-based approaches simultaneously. Oral exams, for instance, have been argued to promote conceptual understanding, self-reflection, communication competency, and professional identity formation in students – but their deployment in large classes is resource-demanding and nontrivial, stifling their broader adoption. Peer assessment, on the other hand, is highly scalable and affords students many potential educational benefits of its own, including the benefits of peer-enhanced learning, more developed evaluative skills, a greater sense of belonging, improved self-efficacy beliefs, and higher levels of intrinsic academic motivation. The merging of the two evidence-based assessment approaches promises a scalable assessment modality hybridizing the pedagogical dimensions of the former two assessment practices. Our study of students’ surveyed perceptions about peer oral exams offers perspectives on the qualities and potential role of peer oral exams in educational practice and suggests directions for future educational research.
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