Peer feedback increases the amount of feedback for individual students and strengthens the students’ skills in giving and receiving feedback. When students give feedback to others, they improve their own ability to understand and use criteria for assessing their own performance and that of others. When giving feedback, the students must explain and give reasons for their assessment, which means that peer feedback also enhances the students’ academic understanding. By reading and assessing the work of others, students will also get to better understand what makes a good presentation and why.
Peer feedback activities must be designed on the basis of the learning objectives of the course. In other words, the criteria that the feedback must relate to should be identical to the criteria by which the students’ performance is assessed. Before the students embark on their feedback activities, it is important that you prepare them well for giving feedback by discussing the relevant criteria with them.
You may for instance ask your students to give feedback on previous anonymised products in order to practice giving criteria-based feedback. You should also ask your students to give reasons for their feedback and to provide concrete suggestions on how a performance or product might be improved.
The literature shows that it is an advantage to ask the students to give feedback to several fellow students; feedback recipients will then get feedback from several fellow students in the process, and feedback providers will see different options and expand their understanding of the good performance. As a teacher you must make sure that the students give each other feedback on drafts, not final performances or finished products. This makes it easier for individual students to use the feedback and incorporate it in the final version. It will also increase the students’ motivation as it becomes clearer that they can use the feedback directly to improve their work.