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Effect of peer feedback on academic writing

Feedback from fellow students on academic writing is as informative as that of teachers. That is one of the findings in Bart Huisman's (ICLON) dissertation. Defence on 12 September.

Peer feedback is reported to both be beneficial to students’ learning and to be a practical instructional method which is scalable when student numbers increase. However, there are not many well-controlled studies on the effect of peer feedback on learning outcomes. Huisman researched the effect of specific aspects of peer feedback tasks on writing performance.

In a meta-analysis of studies on peer feedback, peer feedback appeared to be more effective than self-assessment and comparable with teacher feedback.

Aspects of peer feedback

Three empirical studies were conducted to investigate the role of specific elements of peer feedback task-design. For example, does it make a difference when you match students as feedback partners on the basis of their ability? In a on-campus course, no influence of matching on writing performance was found. In an online course, however, more able peer reviewers had a positive effect on the writing performance of participants.

As for the type of feedback, a combination of grades and comments appears to be more effective that either grades or comments alone. The presence of explanatory peer feedback comments contributes to students’ perceptions of peer feedback adequacy.

Moreover, providing and receiving peer feedback appear to yield similar effects on writing performance.

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