Student Peer Review

What is it?

Student peer review (also referred to as Peer Evaluation) is a process modeled after scholarly peer review. In this process students are asked to submit work (typically written) and then evaluate the work of their peers. Evaluation is often anonymous and facilitated through the use of rubrics. Evaluation may focus on writing, content or both. Peer review does not have to be limited to essays or reports, but could include a diverse range of activities such as programming code or lab reports.

Students synthesize, organize and communicate knowledge as they develop the product to be evaluated. While evaluating the work of their peers, students have the opportunity to be exposed to the work of others, explore new ways of thinking about a topic and both refine and reflect on their own understanding.

Peer Review Tools

Several web based systems exist to facilitate student peer evaluation. At UBC, three such systems are:

  • Calibrated Peer Review (CPR)
  • iPeer
  • Turnitin's PeerMark

Additional information about Student Peer Review is available from Washington University’s Teaching Center at  

Uses and Benefits

Student peer review offers an opportunity to engage student in communicating knowledge in new ways, particularly in large enrolment courses. By engaging students in writing, we encourage students to reflect on their own learning and provide an opportunity for students with different learning styles to demonstrate their mastery of a topic. By exposing students to the work of others, their own work is placed in a new context and students have an opportunity formulate an understanding of the importance of peer review in the academic context. Student peer review can be utilized to provide both formative and summative assessment of student learning.

According to Boston University, some of the benefits of student peer evaluation include:

  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.



Calibrated Peer Review (CPR) is a Web-based program that allows instructors to incorporate frequent writing assignments into their courses, regardless of class size, without increasing their grading workload. Students are trained to be competent reviewers and provide classmates with personalized feedback on writing assignments. The CPR system manages the entire peer-review process, including assignment creation and submission, student reviewer training, and student input analysis. The tool suite is discipline-independent and supports a "writing-across-the-curriculum" approach.

Calibrated Peer Review (CPR) -


iPeer is an open source web application that allows instructors to develop and deliver rubric-based peer evaluations, to review and release student comments, to build progress report forms online, and to analyze evaluation results. iPeer features a built-in user management system, data import/export, and an easy-to-use installer.

Turnitin's PeerMark

Turnitin's WriteCycle includes a peer evaluation tool called PeerMark. Instructors can create peer review assignments that allow students to read, review, and evaluate one or many papers submitted by their classmates. It supports:

  • both anonymous and attributed reviews
  • students pairing up for peer review, or instructors assigning students to review specific papers
  • students self-selecting a (instructor-specified) number of papers

To get started, you will need a Turnitin account, please see the Turnitin Get Started page for details.

Turnitin also has a short screencast for PeerMark.

Get Started

  1. Select a topic.
  2. Determine your learning goals.
  3. Determine where the assignment fits within your curriculum and course outline.
  4. Develop the assignment/instructions for your students.
  5. Create a rubric or some other means for students to evaluate the work of their peers.
  6. Determine which tool (CPR, iPeer or TurnItIn) best fits your assignment. For information about using the specific tool, click the Resources link.
  7. Create the assignment within the tool of your choice.



Rubric Resources

Calibrated Peer Review Resources

iPeer Resources

TurnItIn Resources

Turnitin provides a quickstart guide, manuals, and online videos for instructors and students.


  1. Some students may be uncomfortable evaluating the work of their peers. Online tools allow for anonymous evaluation and can help alleviate this concern. Help students understand their evaluations will be anonymous and how not to self-identify via their comments.
  2. Students may not understand the importance of peer review and may see assignments as just "busy work." Explain the important role peer review has within academia. Assign points to both the process of evaluation and the peer evaluations. In addition, students may need help understanding how to provide constructive criticism and how to incorporate such criticism into their work.
  3. Peer evaluation can be a time consuming process. Make sure the assignments you select are meaningful and explain the process to students. Peer review works well when used multiple times in a course or throughout a program.
  4. Have clear guidelines for students in terms of the evaluation process and required time and effort. Explain to students how to evaluate the work of their peers. If you are using a rubric to guide the evaluation, don’t assume students will understand the rubric. Explain and discuss the rubric in class when possible.

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