Peer Review of Student Work

Methods to promote analysis skills and learning through students reviewing each other’s work.

Student portfolios historically have been used to allow students to self-assess their learning and accomplishments by compiling and reflecting upon their work throughout a course or entire university experience. An ePortfolio adds to the strengths of a traditional portfolio through web access to the portfolio; ePortfolios contain hyperlinks, permit continuous revision, and facilitate peer review. Thus ePortfolios are a growing component of assessing students’ learning.

Courseware such as Blackboard 8
Blackboard 8 allows students to electronically display writing samples to the class participants and only students registered for the class can see their peers’ works.

In-Class Writing Workshops
[Suggestions extracted from a CEIT workshop presented by Professor Sylvia Shaw (College of General Studies) on 11/10/05]

Basic idea: In a class that requires writing, hold a workshop in which students edit each other’s work.

A. Benefits

  1. It improves student writing by providing feedback
  2. It provides students with experience in editing a paper, which:
    • Promotes critical thinking.
    • Enhances communication skills.
    • Increases confidence in writing.
    • Decentralizes authority so that students see criticism as less top-down judgment and more as constructive feedback.
    • Encourages appropriate collaboration that is under the control of the instructor.
    • Improves early drafts so that instructors can concentrate on the content in the final product.
    • Engages students in the learning process.

B. Drawbacks

  1. It requires class time.
  2. Some students react badly to peer review of their work.
  3. Without clear guidelines it can be confusing for students and creating clear guidelines requires time and effort.
While is primarily known for being a plagiarism detection website, it can also be used for students to review their classmates’ work. In the peer review mode of, when students submit their work to a particular class folder on the website, the submissions are viewable by other members of the class including the instructor. Students’ reviews can be combinations of essays and scores and the reviews are available to the instructor. Turnitin has a database of questions and rubrics to be addressed in the review assignment, or instructors can write their own questions.

Boston University has a campus subscription to   See the login information page for access.