With peer feedback students evaluate each other's work. Even though students do not possess the same expertise as a lecturer when it comes to evaluating others' work, the feedback can still be very valuable. It creates more moments of reflection in the course and gives students the chance to learn from each other.
Characteristics of peer feedback
- Improving. Students can use their fellow students’ (peers) feedback to improve their work. When multiple peers give feedback, students will have multiple angles to look at their own work. Because peers tend to have less authority than a lecturer, students are inclined to take the feedback more seriously and think more critically about how to adjust their work.
- Reflecting. Giving feedback is just as educational for students as receiving it. By looking critically at others’ work, students learn what makes a product or behaviour successful. They can use this to reflect on their own work and make improvements.
- Feedback skills. With peer feedback, students learn how to give constructive feedback to others and how to handle feedback they receive themselves. These are skills they can use again later in their study programme and that come in handy in students’ later careers.
- Limiting your workload. As a lecturer you don’t always have the possibility to give a student feedback multiple times. With peer feedback you can create more feedback moments in your course while at the same time limiting your workload to organising the feedback process.
Enabling peer feedback
Giving good feedback doesn’t happen by itself. Students don’t always know what to pay attention to in their evaluation. That is why it is important you give criteria that make clear what the points of attention are. Furthermore, you can give instructions that help students make their peer feedback more constructive.
- Ask students to point out good as well as lesser aspects of the work. Let them explain what makes these aspects good or lesser.
- Make a list of questions students have to answer about the work. This way you make sure the feedback is structured and that every student receives more or less the same amount of feedback.
- Ask students to give at least some suggestions for improvement. This way the peer as well as the student receiving the feedback can reflect on their work.
Tips for peer feedback
- Have students substantiate their feedback. This way students learn more from the peer feedback than when they only have to give grades.
- Discuss the feedback with the whole class or in small(er) groups. This offers the chance to have a substantive discussion about the feedback and for students to hear how fellow students receive their feedback.
- Consult colleagues to see if peer feedback can be a part of multiple courses. This way you can integrate peer feedback in your education and it helps students to keep developing their feedback skills.
- Consider whether you want to assess the quality of the feedback. For example, because feedback skills are a part of the course’s learning objectives. You can do the grading yourself as the lecturer, but you can also ask students to indicate how useful they found the peer feedback.