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Improving Peer Feedback

Students regularly talk to one another about homework and course assignments. They discuss what they think the teacher wants, offer advice about what to study, and sometimes look at one another's work and provide feedback. That feedback runs the gambit from generic commendations like, “that looks good,” to advice on comma placement, to detailed feedback on the substance or solution. Usually, the latter is the exception rather than the rule, unless students have learned that they can give and receive feedback in exchanges with peers. Many teachers try to provide that experience with in-class peer-review activities. They may give students checklists, question sets, or rubrics to guide their assessments and the feedback they then provide. The feedback may be written, or it may be exchanged online or in face-to-face conversations. But do these teacher interventions improve the peer feedback? Can students learn to give one another feedback that enables them to improve their work?

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