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Peer feedback in teaching

Overview

Peer feedback is a learning activity that involves feedback from one student to another. The purpose is to improve their performance, strengthen their ability to assess their own work and support them in becoming self-regulated students.

Advantages of peer feedback

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.

Set a framework for peer feedback activities

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.

How feedback?

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.

Teachers should ask themselves the following questions:

  • What criteria should form the basis of feedback given by students?

  • How should I prepare my students before they start giving each other feedback?

  • What do the students use the feedback they have received for?

  • What is my role in this activity?

Activities

    Examples of practice

      Further reading

      • Anewalt, K.  2005. Using peer review as a vehicle for communication skill development and active learning. J. Comput. Sci. Coll. 21, 2 (December 2005), 148-155.
      • Lundstrom, K. and Baker, W., 2009. To give is better than to receive: The benefits of peer review to the reviewer's own writing. Journal of Second Language Writing, 18(1), pp. 30-43.
      • Nicol, D., Thomson, A. and Breslin, C., 2014. Rethinking feedback practices in higher education: a peer review perspective. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 39(1), pp. 102-122.
      • Papadopoulos, P.M., LAGKAS, T.D. and Demetriadis, S.N., 2012. How to improve the peer review method: Free-selection vs assigned-pair protocol evaluated in a computer networking course. Computers & Education, 59(2), pp. 182-195.
      • Van Gennip, N.A.E., Segers, M.S.R. and Tillema, H.H., 2009. Peer assessment for learning from a social perspective: The influence of interpersonal variables and structural features. Educational Research Review, 4(1), pp. 41-54.

      Inspiration for questions

      Get inspiration for criteria- and reading-based feedback on academic texts that will make the student actively and reflectively think about each other's academic assignments.


      Contact:

      BSS

      Tobias Alsted Nielsen

      Educational it consultant

      HUB

      The content of this page was prepared on the basis of contributions by Bente Mosgaard, Stacey M. Cozart and Rune Dall Jensen in Introduction to Teaching and Learning.