Peer Review Tools

What are Peer Review Tools

Peer review is “a reciprocal process whereby students produce feedback reviews on the work of peers and receive feedback reviews from peers on their own work” (Nicol, Thomson, & Breslin, 2014). Peer review may also be referred to as peer feedback or peer assessment. Peer review can take the form of formative assessment (intended to provide peers with support and input on progress with little to no effect on marks or final grades) or summative assessment (intended to evaluate peers’ work through a consideration of value, worth, quality or success of products/outcomes, contributing to a grade or mark).  

What is the purpose of Peer Review Tools

The overall purpose of peer review is for students to take on a variety of roles for learning: author, reader, critic, and the criticized (Purchase & Hamer, 2017). A substantial body of literature demonstrates the diverse learning benefits of peer review (E.g. Gielen et al, 2011; Mulder et al, 2014; Van Den Berg et al. 2006), including:

  • Advancement of critical thinking and higher-order cognitive skills
  • Problem-solving through analysis and constructive suggestion
  • Meaningful interaction with peers for collaborative and participatory learning

Overall, peer review can effectively accomplish many of Chickering and Gamson’s (1987) seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education including: emphasizing contact between students and faculty, the development of reciprocity and cooperation among students, encouraging active learning, and giving prompt feedback.

How to use Peer Review Tools

Peer feedback tools are designed to semi-automate the peer review process for instructors and students. For example, they serve to match classmates together so that the desired number of reviewers can be assigned to each student submission. Purchase and Hamer (2017) describe five core features of common peer review tools, giving an overall sense as to how peer review tools can be used:

  • Submission Methods: tools allow for one or more types of files to be submitted or uploaded for review
  • Reviewing Criteria: tools typically allow the instructor to specify the evaluation criteria or rubric that student reviewers are to follow in providing their feedback and outline these instructions for peer reviewers as they complete their review
  • Allocations: tools should allow instructors to specify the number of reviews each student is to complete. Tools then commonly automate the process of assigning student reviewers based on the allocations set.
  • Anonymity: tools regularly provide settings for instructors to make the reviewer’s identity anonymous or known to the recipient
  • Mark Calculation: Where the reviewing criteria is based on numerical marks, the peer review tool typically calculates individual student grades based on parameters for evaluation (e.g. an average of marks given by all student reviewers).

Comparison

Aropä ComPair CrowdGrader Centrally Supported Tool
PeerMark - TurnItIn
Functionality functionality rating for Aropä: 2 stars functionality rating for ComPair: 3 stars functionality rating for CrowdGrader: 2 stars functionality rating for PeerMark - TurnItIn: 3 stars
Accessibility accessibility rating for Aropä: 2 stars accessibility rating for ComPair: 1 stars accessibility rating for CrowdGrader: 1 stars accessibility rating for PeerMark - TurnItIn: 2 stars
Technical technical rating for Aropä: 1 stars technical rating for ComPair: 3 stars technical rating for CrowdGrader: 1 stars technical rating for PeerMark - TurnItIn: 1 stars
Mobile Design mobile-design rating for Aropä: 1 stars mobile-design rating for ComPair: 1 stars mobile-design rating for CrowdGrader: 1 stars mobile-design rating for PeerMark - TurnItIn: 1 stars
Usage & Account Set Up usage-account rating for Aropä: 2 stars usage-account rating for ComPair: 2 stars usage-account rating for CrowdGrader: 1 stars usage-account rating for PeerMark - TurnItIn: 1 stars
Social Presence social-presence rating for Aropä: 2 stars social-presence rating for ComPair: 2 stars social-presence rating for CrowdGrader: 2 stars social-presence rating for PeerMark - TurnItIn: 2 stars
Instructor Presence instructor-presence rating for Aropä: 3 stars instructor-presence rating for ComPair: 3 stars instructor-presence rating for CrowdGrader: 2 stars instructor-presence rating for PeerMark - TurnItIn: 3 stars
Cognitive Presence cognitive-presence rating for Aropä: 3 stars cognitive-presence rating for ComPair: 3 stars cognitive-presence rating for CrowdGrader: 3 stars cognitive-presence rating for PeerMark - TurnItIn: 2 stars

Literature

Chickering, A. W. & Gamson, Z. F. (1987). Seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education. American Association of Higher Education Bulletin, 39(7), 3-7.   

Gielen, S., Dochy, F., Onghena, P., et al. (2011). Goals of peer assessment and their associated quality concepts. Studies in Higher Education 36(6), 719–35.

Mulder, R. A., Pearce, J. M., & Baik, C. (2014). Peer review in higher education: Student perceptions before and after participation. Active Learning in Higher Education, 15(2), 157-171. doi: 10.1177/1469787414527391

Nicol, D., Thomson, A., & Breslin, C. (2014). Rethinking feedback practices in higher education: a peer review perspective. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 39(1), 102-122. doi: 10.1080/02602938.2013.795518

Purchase, H. & Hamer, J. (2017). Perspectives on peer-review: eight years of Aropa. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, doi: 10.1080/02602938.2017.1359819

Van Den Berg, I., Admiraal, W. & Pilot, A. (2006). Design principles and outcomes of peer assessment in higher education. Studies in Higher Education 31(3), 341–56

Additional Resources