Integrate self-review activities into peer review designs

A key purpose of implementing peer review is to develop the students' capacity to make evaluative judgements about the quality of their own work not just about the quality of the work of peers.  Peer review naturally builds this self-reflective capacity as has been shown by research.  Nicol (2013), for example, showed that, when they have spent time producing an assignment in the same domain as the assignment they are asked to review, the first thing students do when reviewing another's work is to compare it with their own work; that is, they engage in a reflective process which involves updating their thinking about their own work based on what they learn from the reviewing process.  While this backward reflection and transfer of learning happens naturally through many peer review designs, it can be strengthened further through formal opportunities to self-review.  Furthermore, reviewing peer's work, if it is in the same domain as the produced work, also helps students develop distance and objectivity with regard to their own work. Such distance is difficult to achieve with self-review alone.  Finally, research shows that some external input often helps writers see their own work in a new light. Hence, integrating self-review into peer review designs facilitates transfer, develops students' own knowledge and understanding and develops their capacity to review their own work even while producing.  There are many ways to integrate self-review into peer review designs.

Putting it into practice

  • Get students to review their own work, using the same criteria, after completing a number of peer reviews. If you don't ask them to update their own work this will minimise plagiarism which is sometimes a concern. Also, the teacher will be able to evaluate explicitly the quality of the self-review and the learning that results.
  • Have students self-review their own work before the peer review task by, for example, posing questions for the reviewers to answer about the work. Students could also be asked to respond to these answers saying whether they agree or disagree giving a reason. This would bring in the dialogue principle..
  • Ask students to comment on what they learned from the peer review activities that will help them in their own work in the future. This is self-reviewing the peer reviewing.
  • Have students update their work after producing feedback reviews.
  • Have students update their work after receiving feedback reviews.
  • Give students three or more examples of work and ask them to review them and provide comments on each and to rank order them from best to least good.  This will help calibrate students' reviewing ability, after which they can carry out some peer reviews. Obviously in this scenario the teacher could introduce some elements of peer assessment (i.e. peer marking) given the calibration component.  However, providing samples to review would be beneficial without introducing peer assessment
  • Invent your own ideas and practices..