UCSC-SOE-15-19: Incentives for Truthful Peer Grading

Luca de Alfaro, Michael Shavlovsky, Vassilis Polychronopoulos
10/17/2015 10:05 PM
Computer Science
Peer grading systems work well only if users have incentives to grade truthfully. An example of non-truthful grading, that we observed in classrooms, consists in students assigning the maximum grade to all submissions. With a naive grading scheme, such as averaging the assigned grades, all students would receive the maximum grade. In this paper, we develop three grading schemes that provide incentives for truthful peer grading. In the first scheme, the instructor grades a fraction p of the submissions, and penalizes students whose grade deviates from the instructor grade. We provide lower bounds on p to ensure truthfulness, and conclude that these schemes work only for moderate class sizes, up to a few hundred students. To overcome this limitation, we propose a hierarchical extension of this supervised scheme, and we show that it can handle classes of any size with bounded (and little) instructor work, and is therefore applicable to Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Finally, we propose unsupervised incentive schemes, in which the student incentive is based on statistical properties of the grade distribution, without any grading required by the instructor. We show that the proposed unsupervised schemes provide incentives to truthful grading, at the price of being possibly unfair to individual students.