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Calibrated Peer ReviewTM: Introduction - Why Study Geology?

Amanda Palmer-Julson and Elizabeth Heise, Blinn College
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This resource received an Accept or Accept with minor revisions rating from a Panel Peer Review process

These materials were reviewed using face-to-face NSF-style review panel of geoscience and geoscience education experts to review groups of resources addressing a single theme. Panelists wrote reviews that addressed the criteria:

  1. scientific accuracy and currency
  2. usability and
  3. pedagogical effectiveness
Reviewers rated the resources:
  1. Accept
  2. Accept with minor revisions
  3. Accept with major revisions, or
  4. Reject.
They also singled out those resources they considered particularly exemplary, which are given a gold star rating.

Following the panel meetings, the conveners wrote summaries of the panel discussion for each resource; these were transmitted to the creator, along with anonymous versions of the reviews. Relatively few resources were accepted as is. In most cases, the majority of the resources were either designated as 1) Reject or 2) Accept with major revisions. Resources were most often rejected for their lack of completeness to be used in a classroom or they contained scientific inaccuracies.

This page first made public: Apr 5, 2006

This material is replicated on a number of sites as part of the SERC Pedagogic Service Project


Sarah Andrews is a geologist who has also written a series of successful mystery novels featuring (naturally) a geologist who solves crimes in her spare time. Students read her article, "Why Study Geology?", then write and essay addressing points listed in the Writing Prompt. After this, students are introduced to the process of Calibrated Peer Review and evaluate their papers.

Learning Goals

  • Introduce students to the science of geology AND to the process of Calibrated Peer Review

Context for Use

As this activity is an introduction to both the study of geology and the use of Calibrated Peer Review, it would fit very well as the first activity in an introductory undergraduate or high school geology class.

Teaching Materials

Assignment Preview: A full version of the activity can be obtained by faculty after they register on the CPR site (more info) .

Teaching Notes and Tips

Information on Calibrated Peer Review and how to make use of it in your classroom can be found on this Starting Point Page: Calibrated Peer Review


The student essays are evaluated using Calibrated Peer Review. Students read and grade a few sample papers, then read and grade some of their peers' papers, and finally re-read and evaluate their own writing.

References and Resources

Sarah Andrew's thoughts on "Why Study Geology?": This page contains a discussion of the uniqueness of geology among the sciences.

Options for HTML Formatting of CPR text (more info) : This page explains how students can use simple HTML commands to format their CPR essay.

CPR Text Rating Guidelines: This file contains guidelines to help you students CPR essays.



Resource Type

Assessments:Peer Assessment, Assessments, Activities:Writing Assignment

Grade Level

College Lower (13-14):Introductory Level

Ready for Use

Ready to Use:Meets Peer Review Standard:Anonymous Peer Review, Ready to Use

Earth System Topics

Solid Earth


Teach the Earth:Teaching Environments:Intro Geoscience