peer feedback

Peer Feedback: Creating a Culture of Connection

Feedback on performance is one of the most important factors to learning (Cavalcanti et al., 2021). But feedback need not come only from instructors. Students can learn from getting feedback from other students. It not only improves their work but also teaches them to

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Peer Review: Feedback from a Critical Friend

As a practitioner of learner-centered instruction, I am always looking for new ways to engage students in the learning process. Keeping true to the old adage “whoever is doing the teaching is doing the learning,” my instructional style often engages students in dialog, conversation, and

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Overcoming the Challenges of Student Peer Review

In last week’s column, I cautioned that while peer review has many benefits, these aren’t automatic, and there’s also the potential for harm. Here’s a rundown of the challenges that come with the strategy and ways to minimize them. The peer-review activities themselves can be

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The Benefits of Student Peer Review

Students can learn a lot from peer assessment, whether they look at each other’s written work (papers, lab reports, informal reaction papers); presentations (speeches, panel participation, online discussion facilitation); performances (art, athletics, theatrical musical); or other contributions (group work). The ultimate responsibility for grading remains

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Principles to Frame Feedback Practice

I’ve never been a big fan of lists and checklists. Their condensed statements oversimplify and sound definitive, as if that’s all there is to know. Often, they claim more than they can deliver— “best policies to prevent multitasking,” for instance. My hesitancy about them rubs

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Student Peer Review and Learning

Sometimes it’s good to step back and take a look at something from a distance. Meta-analyses provide some of that perspective. They take a bundle of individual studies, combine their findings, and offer an empirical view of a phenomenon—in this instance, students reviewing their peers.

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Improving How Students Give and Receive Peer Feedback

There’s advice and there are activities that can help develop students’ abilities to offer constructive feedback and use the feedback they receive from peers to more accurately self-assess and improve their work. Those aren’t skills that college students today widely possess, but they’re skills that

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Does Self- and Peer Assessment Improve Learning in Groups?

Teachers can’t monitor what’s happening in multiple groups. Students, on the other hand, know exactly what’s happening in their group—who’s contributing what in the group as well as what they’re doing. From that position they can make judgments and offer peers feedback. The potential benefits

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Peer Review of Writing: An Evidence-Based Strategy?

Getting a handle on the effectiveness of widely used instructional strategies is a challenge. They’re used in different fields and with broadly divergent design details. Moreover, studying the effects of strategy as it’s being used in a classroom presents research challenges and an array of

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Hand putting wooden five star shape on table.

Improve Student Work with Peer Feedback

A host of studies have shown that feedback is one of the most important elements of learning (e.g., Hattie, 2009; Wiggins, 2012). These studies also show that students are generally starved for good feedback. Their instructors focus on grades instead, having learned to mentally subtract

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Feedback on performance is one of the most important factors to learning (Cavalcanti et al., 2021). But feedback need not come only from instructors. Students can learn from getting feedback from other students. It not only improves their work but also teaches them to look at work from a reader’s perspective, helping them develop the skills they need to review and revise their own work.

Two factors often keep instructors from using peer feedback in their classes. One of them is the worry that the feedback will be poor or poorly given, and the other is finding a system to facilitate peer feedback on an assignment. But the TAG feedback method can address the former concern, and there are multiple systems for collecting peer feedback that incorporate into a learning management system. We will discuss both in this article.

TAG feedback system

The TAG feedback system guides students in giving peer feedback. It involves three steps:

We ask students to use this method when providing feedback. For shorter work, they provide it in the LMS discussion forum; for longer works, they use peerScholar to do so. When using the discussion forum, students first post a draft of their work to the forum. Then they must give feedback to at least two other works. Having students post comments and suggestions within a public forum helps build a community around feedback and also allows students to learn from the feedback other students received.

We also provide a rubric to support self- and peer assessment during the draft stage of a project. Explaining the criteria in the rubric helps students give targeted feedback to others and makes it easier for the recipients of the feedback to act on it.

We have found that students really like this way of providing feedback and take this responsibility seriously. After receiving feedback, learners have time to work on their final drafts or projects and decide whether to act on the feedback given or not. They are also required to write a reflection on their processes of working on the project, giving feedback, and receiving feedback. If they choose not to alter their work on the basis of the suggestions provided to them, they have the opportunity to justify their position.

Using peerScholar to facilitate peer feedback

peerScholar is a web tool used at several institutions for collecting peer feedback.

Students start by watching short videos on the peerScholar website or on the app. (Instructors can embed them into the LMS page too). These microlearning video series gradually build learner feedback literacy skills. Students then submit their work through the app integrated within the LMS. The app assigns each student another student’s work, which is presented anonymously, and students provide anonymous feedback on the work.

peerScholar provides instructors with a number of options for channeling student feedback. They can give students multiple-choice questions for a particular evaluation criterion—for instance, asking students to rate the spelling in an assignment from “no spelling errors” to “numerous spelling errors.” Instructors might also have students enter point values, star ratings from one to four , or 1–7 scale ratings. Finally, instructors can give students boxes for entering open-ended comments as well as the opportunity to provide in-text comments within the work.

The system sends all the information to both the receiving student and the instructor (Figure 1). The student then revises their work and submits it to the instructor for a grade.

peerScholar faculty dashboard featuring the name of the course, options for instructors, and grading information.
Figure 1. peerScholar faculty dashboard

In each task or step within peerScholar, instructors can add or modify dates and rubrics and add or remove instructions. Additionally, instructors can change the number of reviews students are required to give and can even choose group feedback or a case study activity. This makes peerScholar fairly customizable to suit a variety of course delivery types and fields.

Students might feel hesitant to provide in-depth feedback at first, but over time they start to feel more comfortable giving and receiving it. Peer feedback also helps build community as students help and get help from others. Not only does the process improve students’ work, but it also helps cultivate valuable skills that they will likely use in the future.

References

Cavalcanti, A. P, Barbosa, A., Carvalho, R., Freitas, F., Tsai, Y., Gašević, D., & Mello, R. F. (2021). Automatic feedback in online learning environments: A systematic literature review. Computers and Education: Artificial Intelligence, 2, Article 100027. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.caeai.2021.100027

Let’s Talk Science. (n.d.). Learning strategies: TAG feedback. https://letstalkscience.ca/educational-resources/learning-strategies/tag-feedback


Elena Chudaeva, PhD, is a professor of physics and mathematics and Katrina Lagace, MA, is a humanities professor at George Brown College.