Student peer review in higher education

Year: 2012

Author: Mulder, Raoul, Pearce, Jon, Baik, Chi, Millar, Victoria

Type of paper: Abstract refereed


Regular exposure to ideas, critique and iterative phases of assessment and reflection are widely recognised to be important in student learning (Ramsden 2003; Hounsell 2003). As universities move to enhance learning outcomes for students and improve satisfaction with the volume and quality of feedback there is growing interest in student peer review as a means of providing meaningful interactions with peers and greater exposure to ideas (Falchikov 2005; Lundstrom & Baker 2009). Research into student peer review to date has mainly looked at students' perceptions, showing that students value peer review and believe that it is beneficial to their learning. However, we still know relatively little about whether quality of student work is improved through peer review. We addressed this gap by focussing on qualitative changes in students' work and relating these to perceptions and review content.

We analysed student work in a third year undergraduate subject prior to and following peer review. Content analysis was used to determine how students' work changed as a consequence of peer review and what type of feedback students responded to and incorporated in their revised assignments. Students were also interviewed in focus groups about their peer review experience. This analysis was paired with an assessment of quality of pre- and post-review work, conducted by a panel of expert assessors, blind to the status of the work, using a standardised rubric.

The findings further our understanding of how students choose and incorporate feedback into their own work providing academics with the ability to better frame and support students through the peer review process. The expert assessors' ratings of student work showed a significant improvement in marks following peer review and provide additional support for the incorporation of student peer review as part of assessment practice.

Falchikov, N. (2005). Improving assessment through student involvement: Practical solutions for aiding learning. London: RoutledgeFalmer.

Hounsell, D. (2003). Student feedback, learning and development. In: Slowey, M. and Watson, D. ed. Higher education and the lifecourse. Maidenhead: SRHE & Open University Press/McGraw-Hill, 67-78.

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, 0-43.

Ramsden, P. (2003). Learning to teach in higher education. London: Routledge.