Provide inputs that help learners calibrate their judgements

What is the role of the teacher in peer review?  As an expert in the discipline, a key job of the teacher is to help students calibrate their ability to make evaluative judgements so that they are more like those an expert would make.  Experts are able to provide quality reviews; students need to develop this capability.  Hence students need some reference points or signposts about what is good quality.  One approach to this is for teachers to mark and give students feedback on their peer reviews not just on the quality of their assignments.  However, there are a number of other approaches to ensuring that students learn to make judgements and produce high quality feedback reviews. Many of these approaches involve getting students to interact with, and consider, compare and evaluate their own reviews with examples of high quality reviews produced by others.

Putting it into practice

  • Teachers provide feedback on the quality of students' reviews not just on the quality of their assignments.
  • Students receive grades/marks for the quality of their reviews not just on the quality of their assignments.
  • Teachers select examples of reviews constructed by students and discuss them in tutorials - showing good and weaker examples and saying why they are good - or by asking the students to rank the reviews and say themselves why one is better than the other.
  • Get students to produce reviews without pre-set criteria; they identify the criteria as part of the task and then compare their criteria against those provided and used by the teacher.
  • Scaffold the students' own reviewing activities by providing them with a menu of teacher-feedback resources to help them carry out the review.  This was done by in Biochemistry at the University of Strathclyde and it was found that a menu of teacher questions (those that they would ask about the work) was more effective than a menu of teacher feedback comments. The former made this students think more deeply.
  • Show students examples of teacher reviews
  • Give students access to some reviews and ask them to rank order them and provide a justification
  • Invent your own ideas and practices