Great post Darren! I've intergrated more student assessment via group conferencing, and the students really enjoy it. They don't feel as much presure to perform to "get their mark". The sharing is more goal oriented . There is more metacognition and critical thinking. These are things that are more difficult to assess on a test, because you can't question or probe for futher clarification at home on a piece of paper.
I enjoy your big picture thoughts on everything teaching. Keep them coming.