As a teacher, you may use Peer grading in class since it has a lot of value for a variety of learning situations. It can, for example, help your students become better writers, readers, and collaborators. However, it is important to plan the use of Peer grading in order to effectively improve these skills.
Overall, participation in a peer review process can help students:
- Learn to read carefully, whether it is their own text or of another writer.
- Improve their writing by taking advice from others into account.
- Write for a broader audience instead of writing primarily for themselves or for a teacher.
- Learn to give constructive feedback on a peer’s work
- Learn how to respond and incorporate comments into the writing process.
A common misstep in approaching Peer grading is to assume that students already master these skills. When asking them to simply review a text it amounts to asking students to apply skills they most likely did not develop yet. Instead, peer grading should be approached as an opportunity to teach the skills mentioned above and for students to practice them. Here are some tips:
1. Determine how the Peer grade option of Revisely will fit into the course
Setting out an assignment including the Peer grading option is simple in Revisely but it is smart to prepare such an assignment well. A peer assessment would, for example, works best with texts that are not too long (let’s say 5 pages or less). The longer the text or the more complex criteria, the longer students will take to complete a thorough assessment of their peers.
When assigning shorter texts, you can devote a part of a class to Peer grading or of course, ask the students to complete it outside of class. Next to that, as you are planning the course, it is good to make a list of the skills that students should be learning and how students can practice this while using the Peer grading option in Revisely.
The advantage of using digital peer grading is that, unlike handwriting on a physical draft, online peer assessments allows both students and teachers to give insightful and detailed feedback. Make sure however that you first practice in class how to review and give feedback. This way, students develop comfort when giving and receiving feedback and get to know one another while developing these skills.
2. Model and teach the skills required to Peer Grade
Students can benefit from understanding the teacher’s expectations of a peer review. It wouldn’t be very helpful for a student to receive a comment such as “It looks fine to me”. We want students to be as specific as possible, both about strengths and weaknesses they see in a text. To make sure students know how to give effective feedback, it is a good idea to discuss a sample text. You can write a text in
To make sure students know how to give effective feedback, it is a good idea to discuss a sample text. You can write a text in Revisely as a sample yourself or use a text submitted by a student in an earlier semester. The sample text can thereafter be sent to all students in Revisely or, for example, be projected from your laptop to a projection screen. Ask your students to read it and write some comments about it.
Afterwards, ask your students to work in groups of 3 to 4 people to discuss and possibly produce written comments. Then, ask the groups to present their findings, pointing out strengths as well as elements that need more work. When necessary, ask the students to phrase their comments in more specific ways. Note that while students often hesitate to give feedback face-to-face to their peers, they may actually be very critical when the writer of the text is not present. Therefore, the aim should always be to help them understand that the point of their comments should be in spirit of helpfulness.
3. Design a Peer grading worksheet in the assignment to specify tasks
If you want your students to review particular features of a text, make sure that those tasks are clear. Providing worksheets might offer some guidance for them what to look for when revising. A peer grading worksheet might, for example, begin by asking the reviewer to offer a positive comment about the paper and continue in asking for specific evaluations. Thereby, ask the reviewer to indicate which parts of the text he or she finds most or least effective and why. The student who wrote the text can on his or her turn determine which parts of the paper are effective as it is, and which are unclear, incomplete, or unconvincing. Adding a worksheet to the instructions of your assignment in Revisely can help students to write more extensive comments.
4. Teach students how to use feedback from their peers and how to respond to it
Besides learning how to provide others with constructive feedback, it is also important for students to learn how to respond to the received feedback of a peer. Students should weigh and be open to each comment they receive but also realise that they are responsible for the final draft they send you as a teacher. It is their choice whether or not to change the text because of suggested revisions. It is important to practice this in class since comments that suggest radically different revisions may confuse students. Chances are, for example, that students get discouraged of the feedback they got because they expected their paper was finished and wouldn’t need a lot of editing. Therefore, negative response from a peer can be a disappointment resulting in becoming discouraged or even defensive.
Modelling a peer grading session can be a good training in order to develop reviewing skills. Project a sample text to a screen showing a sample text including feedback. Ask the students to put themselves in the position of the writer and to come up with a plan to revise the sample text based on the reviewers’ feedback. Besides, the students could practice evaluating feedback by responding to each comment in writing mentioning their opinion and how they plan to adjust this in the text. Reason of this practice is for students to learn to take their peers’ comments seriously and to think carefully about the choices they have made while writing their texts.
5. Reflect on the Peer grading assignment
After students gave their peer review, it is possible for you as a teacher to see those comments in Revisely when you grade the final text. Check if students are writing thoughtful comments that provide an adequate amount of detail. If this is still a problem, spend some more time in class on how to phrase comments in a constructive way. Remember that skills and judgements to effectively manage peer assessments need to be developed since students may have little exposure and experience in doing so.
In all, using the new option of peer grading in Revisely offers another way to engage students with the study material. Revisely allows both students and teachers to give insightful and detailed feedback and therefore creates opportunities for learning that traditional grading could never provide.