Peer Review

Keeping Peer Review Incentivized and Communal

We have two final recommendations for peer review: that you keep the process incentivized and communal.

Building in Credit for Peer Review

There are a number of ways to offer students incentives for peer review, but we’ve compiled just a few here. You might try:

  • Building in low-stakes writing assignments in which students reflect on the suggestions made during peer review and articulate their revision plan.
  • Adding revision to your rubric and ask students to address at least one higher-order and one lower-order concern from peer review between their rough draft and the draft they hand in for grading.
  • Including a section on the peer review sheet itself in which you ask students to identify the most helpful suggestion and the one they find least helpful and explain why.
  • Having students hand in their rough draft and with their final paper and highlight the changes they made in response to peer review.
  • Grading the peer reviews themselves based on a general rubric.
  • Building in low-stakes writing assignments in which students reflect on their experience as reviewers and explain how this has affected their own writing.
  • Having students grade their own peer reviews, identifying what they think was their most helpful suggestion and their least helpful suggestion and explaining why.
Keeping Peer Review a Communal Process

Keeping peer review a communal process means that you can help manage the logistics, ensuring that everyone’s paper receives equal time for feedback and discussion. Giving students time in class to work on peer review allows you to circulate, answering questions and ensuring that feedback is helpful. It also allows students to see your investment in their writing practice – by simply checking in on peer review groups, you can help redirect possible missteps in their writing and encourage them to push their ideas further.

It’s useful to have students work in groups of three (or four) to ensure that authors receive multiple responses to their work. This reinforces the sense of peer review as an opportunity for feedback rather than an editing session and encourages discussion during peer review. More eyes means more engagement, and it helps students understand that good writing is always partially subjective, that it can’t be assessed by way of a scantron, that they’re going to have to learn to take some advice and disregard the rest.



“Using Peer Review to Help Students Improve Writing.” The Teaching Center. Washington University in St. Louis.Web. n.d. 1 June 2014.