This in-class peer-review practice session is designed to give students some experience of the process before working with real examples provided by their peers. It should take approximately 50 minutes. The main aims are to consider what sort of feedback is most useful, what sort of language offers constructive help, and how to go about providing feedback to avoid editing an entire piece of writing.
You should hand out copies of the sample Essay For Feedback – Peer Review Exercise and the Giving Effective Feedback – Peer Review – Student Handout documents.
The session can be broken down as follows:
- 1. Five minutes: Put students into groups of 3-5 and share the sample essay and the assignment details so the students know what the original task was for the essay author:
The author needed to write a short argumentative essay in which he/she answered the following prompt: ‘Should limited research funds be allocated to basic or applied research projects?’ They should have taken a stance and defended it by making claims and supported them with specific pieces of evidence.
- 2. Five minutes: Review higher and lower-order concerns and ask student to prioritize their responses accordingly.
Higher-order concerns include things such as poor logic, organization, and not backing claims up with evidence, whereas lower-order concerns include things such as poor grammar, over-use of jargon, and a lack of transitions and everyday analogies.
- 3. Five minutes: Talk about using constructive and productive language, even when it may be challenging, and refer students to their Effective Feedback handout for further guidance and some examples.
Ask the students to think about how they could best help the author improve their work as a direct result of the feedback they provide. Stress the importance of being supportive yet honest, and being very specific in their feedback.
- 4. Fifteen minutes: Have each group read the sample essay and talk about what feedback they would give the author. Check in with each group throughout, answer questions, etc. Ask each group to come up with specific feedback.
- 5. Ten minutes: Each group must delegate a speaker to come up and share that feedback with the class as if the class was the student who wrote the piece.
- 6. Ten minutes/debrief: Compare the feedback offered by each group, and ask the class as a whole which feedback worked, and which didn’t? Why? How did the class feel in general when the feedback was shared with them?