Foundations of Education and Instructional Assessment/Involving Students/Peer Reviewing
By: Brittney DeShazo
Table Of Contents
1. Learning Targets
3. Who uses Peer Perviews?
4. Benefits of Peer Review
5. Criticisms of Peer Review
1. Learning Targets
Students should be able to idenity the positive effects of peer review
Students should be able to identify the criticisms of peer review
Students should be able to determine a situation where peer reviews would be appropriate
Think of all of the different ways to assess students. How many are the students actually involved in the process? Peer reviewing allows student assessment of their peer’s work. If used correctly, it can benefit the student who is being assessed, as well as the one who is doing the assessing. It is a way to provide feedback that is more reliable to the students. Students will be able to interact with one another as well a judge if an assignment meets the appropriate criteria.
3. Who Uses Peer Reviews?
Peer reviewing can be a way to judge students on the quality of their work. However, peer reviewing as a variety of uses in many different areas of study besides education. Many scientists and other professional use peer reviewing as a tool to help them create high quality work. According to an article published in Nature ,a weekly science journal, peer reviewing acts a filter (Nature, 2006). It can be a way to help eliminate bias, and other distracting information from a report. Even though we regularly might not think about it but, the United States Government also uses different forms of peer reviewing in many of their legislation procedures. For example, the Department of Education uses peer reviews to help identify if certain school programs are meeting the requirements of the NCLD (Standards and Assessments Peer Review Guidance, 2007). The secretary of Elementary Education reviews various plans for the improvement of educational practices in many different school systems. Sate records, test administration manuals, and school board resolutions are reviewed to make sure they meet the requirements. A board of qualified people actually sits down and reviews the results, the final results are then used for improvements in the educational system. Peer reviewing in being used in a variety of different fields as way to make sure the product is on track with the overall goal. Essentially the students who use the peer review process are doing the exact same thing as the officials who are leading our country, just on a smaller scale.
4. Benefits of Peer Reviews
How does peer reviewing help assessment? Well for starters, peer reviewing encourages interaction between students. It allows students to communicate and share their opinions with their peers. Secondly, more than one person benefits from the process of peer previewing. Think about it. The student, who does the assessing, learns what characteristics will make the final product successful. The one being assesses learns how to make improvements. It can essentially be a win-win situation for both parties if done correctly (Bostock, 2002). In an article by Brown, Rust, and Gibbs, provides a very nice list of all of the potential advantages of peer reviewing ( Brown, Rust and Gibbs, 1994).
Potential Advantages of Peer Reviewing
- Giving a sense of ownership, improving motivation
- Encouraging students to take responsibility of their own learning, developing them into autonomous learners
- Treating assessment as part of learning, so that mistakes are opportunities rather than failures
- Practicing transferable skills needed for life-long learning, and evaluation skills
- Using external evaluation to provide a model for internal self-assessment of a student’s own learning
- Encouraging deep rather than surface learning.
All of these skills and techniques that could be learned during the peer review process are important in student development. The student will become more comfortable in dealing with criticisms. The student also has the potential to become more effective at delivering criticisms to a peer or future co-worker. Not all peer reviewing is done in the exact same way. Some peer reviewing is done on a more individual level, while others are on a more group level. Whatever method is used peer reviewing can be used an effective way of assessment.
Please click on the link provided for an example of a peer review assessment sheet that could be used in a classroom. 
Evaluation: This type of peer reviewing assignment would be used in a science class. I think it would be best used with middle school aged children. By that age they can handle the requirements of assessing a peer’s report. This peer review makes the student who is doing the assessing really become aware of more than just that topic of the report. He or she will also have to make sure the report meets grammatical standards. This model of how peer reviewing can be use effectively in a classroom really combines more than one subject area, which is important.
5. Criticism of Peer Review
Like with all things, there are two sides to this story. Just as peer reviewing has its’ supporters it also has its’ critics. As mentioned by the Nature article, peer reviewing can produce only a minimal source of quality (Nature, 2006). There is really no way making something 100%. One can find all of the errors in a particular piece or work but, there is no way it can be perfect. The same article also brings up the issue of time. The peer reviewing process can be very time consuming (Nature, 2006). One of the major criticism with this method of assessment is favoritism. It is very hard to prevent the assessor from having some skewed judgments. If the assessor knows the person who he or she is assessing, then it can lead to some misleading results (Nature, 2006). What this ultimately does is create biased results (Bostock, 2002). A study done in 1993 suggested that if the students do not have any knowledge or connection to the article they are assessing, they are more likely to score that article more honestly (Bostock, 2002).
Peer Review is a way to assess students, as well as to get them involved in the assessment process. Although there are some criticisms there are also some positive aspects that are helpful in the assessment process. Peer review is an innovative form of assessment. Students gain insight about their own work, while looking at examples provided by other students. If used correctly, peer reviewing can be a very reliable type of assessment.
1. Which of the following is not an advantage of peer reviews?
a. Encourages students to take responsibility for their own work.
b. It is easy, and does not require a lot of time.
c. Mistakes are looked at as opportunities rather than failures
d. Practicing life long evaluation skills
2. How do peer reviews act as a "filter?"
a. Allows the article to be concise and to the point
b. Allows the project being assessed to include some of the author's opinion
c. Allows the article to be filled with statistics
d. Allows the article to be read quickly.
3. Mrs. Smith decided to allow her fifth grade class to use reviews as a way of assessing her students for a history report. Sandy and James were paired together to review each others' work. James is good at grammar. Sandy is strong at determining the organization of the report. How will peer reviewing be beneficial for both partners?
a. James gets to practice hi grammar skills
b. Sandy will get a higher grade because James is able to help her with her grammar.
c. Sandy learns how to improve her grammar skills, and James gets to work on the organization of his report.
d. They do not benefit at all from using peer review as an assessment.
4. Why is it important to consider peer reviewing as a way as assessment?
a. Important issues are addressed in the reports, articles, etc.
b. To make sure that the article or assignment meets the requirements.
c. To reduce the amount of bias in a published or graded work.
d. All of the above
Brown S, Rust, and Gibbbs,G. 1994 Involving students in the assessment process, in Stategies for Diverifying Assessment. Higher Education http://www.lgu.ac.uk/deliberations/ocsd-pubs/div-ass5.html
Bostock, Stephen.2002 Student Peer Assessment. The Higher Education Academy Retrieved October 21, 2008 from http://www.palatine.ac.uk/files/994.pdf
Nature, 2006 Quality and Value: The True Purpose of Peer Review. Nature Retrived October 21, 2008 from http://www,nature.com/nature.peerreview.nature05032.html
Standards and Assessments: Peer Review Guidance, 2007. The U.S Department Of EducationRetrieved October 21, 2008 from http://www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/sa aprguidance.pdf