How is student peer review undertaken?
There are a number of variations on how student peer review can be used, however, the basics are as follows:
- Students submit work to be reviewed.
- The submitted work is anonymously distributed.
- Students review other students’ work.
- Students receive reviews of their work.
- Students use these reviews to reflect on and improve their work.
While this is the most basic form of student peer review there are a few factors that will make the process a more effective learning experience. In many ways, student peer review is similar to the process undertaken when submitting a journal article for publication. For this reason, some of the planning can be undertaken with this in mind.
Read more: Guide to Student Peer Review
With a little planning the student peer review process will run smoothly and be more rewarding for everyone. The following is a list of things that you should consider in planning for student peer review.
- Distribution of work – If there are only a few students the distribution process may be done manually, for larger classes consider using one of the peer review tools available, such as PRAZE.
- How many reviewers? We have found through experience and our reading of the literature that an effective number of reviews is two. That is, each student will have their work reviewed by two of their peers and will review two pieces of work themselves.
- Who will be undertaking the reviews? Will it only be students or will staff also be reviewing work?
- Training for students – Consider providing some advice to students on how to appropriately review their peers work and also on how to interpret and incorporate the feedback they receive.
- Reviewer feedback – Once students have received their reviews of their own work, would it be useful for students to then provide feedback to the reviewers on the usefulness of the review? Such feedback could be framed along the lines of a review form based on the effectiveness/helpfulness of the review, or a Letter to the Editor detailing which comments were incorporated.
- Timing – How long do you want to designate for each step of the review process?
Advice for students
Just as journal editors provide advice and criteria that guide evaluations of articles, students benefit from guidance. This is particularly the case when they are new to peer review or aren’t familiar with the type of work that they’ll be evaluating.
Running an information session or tutorial for students will allow the practicalities of student peer review to be covered alongside a discussion of how to write effective reviews and how to interpret and reflect on reviews. Such a tutorial should:
- Outline what student peer review entails.
- Outline the timeline for the process and how it will be undertaken ie. manually or software.
- Make explicit the evaluation criteria.
- What characteristics are important to your field and this type of assignment?
- Discuss how to provide effective reviews. What kind of language is appropriate or inappropriate.
- How should students interpret the reviews they receive about their own work?