Tweaks to Peer Review

It’s amazing how one little change can make all the difference in a classroom assignment.

Previously for peer reviews I asked my students to get together in their small groups (four to a group) and take turns reviewing each others papers. I found this style to be ineffective once I read their final drafts, and I’ve been puzzling out the problem ever since.

Fortunately, yesterday I spoke with my buddy and office-mate, Paul, who shared his strategy with me.

Paul asks his students to pair off, then each student in the pair takes turns reading the other student’s paper out loud. The students take notes and make minor connections during the reading, and at the end they discuss the good qualities of the paper and the areas that could use a little work.

It’s a small adjustment, but I believe asking the students to read the papers out loud will actually make a significant difference. I tell them to do this with their roommates and friends all the time, but I’ve never actually modeled it for them in-class. Important distinction.

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