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How does critical thinking relate to peer assessment?

Feb 24, 2022

Reflect and write at least 300 words (but not more than 500 words) on the following: How does critical thinking relate to peer assessment? What strategies from this week can you apply when you assess Written Assignments?

Developing Critical Thinking through Peer Review

Peer review is a critical component of the life of the mind and an effective teaching strategy for nurturing students’ critical thinking skills.  In our newest video for The Extraordinary Teaching Project, Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences Art Bettis describes how he uses peer review to help his students improve their writing skills, enhance critical thinking and evaluation skills, and gain a deeper understanding of the course topic. 

Research studies, including some conducted at The University of Iowa, have identified key strategies for designing effective peer review assignments:

  • communicating with students about the purpose and benefits of peer review/assessment will have a positive impact on students’ attitudes toward the tasks; 
  • clear and guided assessment criteria are the key to successful peer review exercises;
  • allocating class time to discuss rubric questions/criteria helps students to understand both course content and the evaluation process; 
  • peer review of writing is most effective when students have an opportunity to revise their writings prior to submitting a grade; and
  • research studies suggest students tend to struggle to review mid-range quality writings compared to high or poor quality writings. Offering instructor-designed examples of poor, mid-range, and excellent writings can help students to understand common writing and content errors.

For additional suggestions, visit the QuickStart Guide on peer review from The Extraordinary Teaching Project. 

The Center for Teaching invites instructors who would like to learn more about peer review of writing to join us for a workshop on Improving Student Writing and Critical Thinking Skills through Peer Review/Assessment on Thursday, February 25, from noon to 1:30pm in the Center for Teaching Conference Room (UCC 2070E).  Workshop participants will explore best practices for peer review/assessment and also learn about two web applications, Calibrated Peer Review (CPR) and PeerMark, which enable frequent peer-assessed writing assignments for any size class. 

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