Introduction for Students

Initial Publication Date: December 21, 2006

Before handing out the first assignment, instructors are encouraged to provide students with an introduction to peer review.

  • Explain the importance of revision: students may have had little or no experience with being required to write and revise an assignment. Instructors should emphasize not only the benefit to the student of an improved assignment, but that peer review is occurring in a variety of professional settings, including with new technologies in online environments.
  • Review specific evaluation criteria: provide to the students and go over with them the forms they will be filling out for their peer review. The forms can be handed out in class or available electronically as a MS Word document or online feedback form.
  • Have a practice session: hold a mock peer review so that students will understand the format and what is expected of them. Instructors may want to compile a sheet of peer review guidelines that the students can refer to while writing their reviews.
  • Prepare students to provide constructive comments: students should be providing feedback on the ideas in the paper and not the author. Comments should be in an appropriate tone and include positive as well as negative points. Have the comments as suggestions and not commands.
  • Prepare students to receive negative/polar comments: students should be told not to feel 'defeated' or that they did a poor job just because of constructive criticism. If more than one peer review was completed on a document, mention to students that one review may be completely opposite of the other, and suggest to students how to proceed with these comments.
  • Consider using technology to facilitate the activity: be clear to students how the technology will be used for the peer review, and be sure that every student knows how to utilize this technology. Especially in introductory-level courses, students may need a quick tutorial on how to send email attachments, use the "track changes" function in MS Word, and/or how to upload documents in a school's online course management software program.


Overview: Using Student Peer Review (more info)