Peer Review Guidelines

Peer Review Reflection:

In one of my graduate courses, I recently participated in a peer review activity; for the first time in several years, I played the student role in this process.  Peer review activities are difficult to facilitate well, and this week, I experienced many of the challenges that my students probably faced during peer reviews in my classes.

In the discussion following the activity, many of my colleagues felt that they did not receive much useful feedback from their peers; however, many people in the class felt that the process of reading and evaluating other students’ work was helpful for their own learning.  Despite some of the frustrations that accompany peer review, it is still a process that I want to include, at least occasionally, in my classes; however, I want to make sure that I follow guidelines that will effectively accomplish the purposes of peer review.

Peer Review Purposes:

1) for students to learn how to improve their work through feedback provided by their peers

2) for students to learn how to improve their work through the process of responding to their peers’ work

Peer Review Guidelines:

  • Students should have a common frame of reference so that they can understand how to respond to their peers’ work.
    • This will help avoid responses of, “I don’t know anything about this topic, so I have no suggestions.”
  • Students should have specific guidelines about how much time and effort is expected in the activity.
    • This will help avoid frustration that results from one student writing long, thoughtful responses and then receiving very short feedback from peers.
  • Peer review should only be one part of the feedback students receive during the writing process.
    • Peer review can supplement feedback from a teacher, but in a classroom setting, peer review should not replace a teacher’s feedback.
  • Students should answer questions not only about their peers’ work but also about their own learning during the process.
    • Since many people find the process of reading their peers’ work to be one of the greatest benefits of peer response, then the questions that students respond to should reflect this purpose.
    • **This is the most important take-away for me.  I do not believe that my peer review activities in the past have asked students to reflect on their own learning, but I now feel that this is an essential element of the peer review process.**
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2 Responses to Peer Review Guidelines

  1. These are excellent guidelines! Did you put these together, or were they co-created in class? As a teacher, I think this is a great framework for thinking about activities that might involve peer review!

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    • Thank you! I put these together as I was reflecting on our discussion in class, so many of the guidelines draw from my own perspective on the peer review activity we did and from the comments made by other students in the class. The point about focusing more on how peer review affects one’s own learning came mostly from the poll that we responded to in class – while many people said they did not receive helpful feedback from others, they still felt that they learned something from the peer review process.

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