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Why Peer Review is Important

Discover the rationale for the use of peer-review for formative assessment.
Group of learners in lab coats working together in a lab
© Wellcome Connecting Science

In this article, we will talk a bit more about peer review, as a way to give/receive feedback to/from other learners in the group, peers, colleagues, or anybody who is not in an authority position.

You as a trainer might want to use this technique, so this course will give you an opportunity to see it from the learner’s point of view.

Why Peer Review is Important?

In Peer review or Peer critiquing as it is also called, learners produce feedback reviews on the work of other learners and also receive feedback reviews from their peers, normally working on the same project, but not necessarily so. This form of formative assessment can be used with groups of learners of any size, but the bigger the group, the more useful this method becomes – as teacher/trainer cannot sometimes provide sufficient feedback to all the learners in a big size group.

On this course, peer review will be used for you and the other learners to review each other’s work, produced throughout the course and finalised in this week’s steps.

According to research, the main strength of formative assessment through peer review

‘seems to be related to the enhancement of student learning by means of reflection, analysis and diplomatic criticism’. (Falchikov, 2006)
So through peer reviewing, the learners are not only being made aware of the ways their work can be improved (through reflection on the received feedback), but also there is an additional benefit of learning to communicate effectively with their peers, and learning to critique others’ ideas and work in a constructive manner.
‘The findings show that producing feedback reviews engages students in multiple acts of evaluative judgement, both about the work of peers, and, through a reflective process, about their own work; that it involves them in both invoking and applying criteria to explain those judgements; and that it shifts control of feedback processes into students’ hands, a shift that can reduce their need for external feedback. ‘ (Nichola et al, 2013)

As mentioned earlier, this last point on shifting the control of feedback processes into learners’ hands can be very useful way for a trainer to then either give additional feedback to an already reviewed learner’s work, or to skip this depending on the time constraints and/or formal importance of the work the learners are doing.

For further reading please find some references and attached pdf below.


© Wellcome Connecting Science
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