I enjoyed reading Peer Review and Response: Supporting Improved Writing Skills in Environmental Chemistry. I teach both Chemistry and Environmental Science. In my Environmental Science course, students work together to author a literature review that mirrors an authentic research process. I also use a peer review process. I provide a checklist for students to guide their peer review and ensure they look at all areas of the paper. The peer review even has a designation for 'Accept, Accept with Minor Revisions, Accept with Major Revisions, and Reject with the option to Resubmit'. The goal is to encourage them to think critically about writing of their peers and craft constructive, actionable feedback. The goal is twofold - students gain additional feedback on their work and those reviewing will hopefully critically think about their own writing based on their own critical analysis of the writing of another. Similar to the authors of this paper, my students work with the feedback in a workshop format to decide if a change is warranted to improve their work based on the feedback.
I like that the authors point to how this process can improve student ownership of their learning and develop critical reflection skills.
The authors of this study found that:
- nearly 3/4 of students reported the perception that their papers were improved through peer review
- regardless of perception of improvement, grades did improve
- over half of students felt that reading other student papers improved their own writing by helping them understand expectations and by providing ideas to improve
The authors - interestingly - report that the quality of peer review comments tended to be poor, meaning students did not really use the feedback they gained to evaluate their own work. The authors note that an improved training for students in reading peer review comments was needed in order to help students evaluate the feedback and decide what is applicable and when to defend their writing choices.
Because my course uses a workshop for discussing the feedback gained through peer review, I plan to consider how I can better train students to read peer review comments (including my own comments to them on their draft) and decide 1) what comments should be adopted and 2) when to defend writing.
Thank you for sharing your work, Dulani, Todd, and Deb!