I am enthusiastically involved in a project in which I am helping instructors implement writing assignments that use student peer feedback into their courses (see note 1). I am loving this initiative and the learning; plus, it is a neat extension of the work I have been doing on peer review of teaching.
Today’s post is a brief introduction to Calibrated Peer Review (CPR), a web-based writing and peer review tool that is being used in one of the re-designed courses.
Calibrated Peer Review (CPR) automates the process of distributing writing assignments to the students and then manages a peer review process that involves four steps, in which students:
- Submit a writing assignment
- Undergo a process whereby their review skills are calibrated
- Review peers’ writing, and
- Assess their own writing assignment
The instructor need not grade the assignments and the CPR system automatically compiles grades (Likkel, 2012; Schneider, 2015).
According to the CPR website, compelling reasons to use CPR include that it:
- Allows students to hone their writing skills
- Helps student learn to use higher-order thinking skills (in the writing and review process)
- Promotes students’ critical thinking abilities
- Encourages students to gain a deeper understanding of the topic and discipline
- Reduces time needed by instructors to grade
With the exception of the last point, research on the CPR has drawn varied conclusions about the effectiveness of CPR for the above.
Some of the questions that remain inconclusive in the literature are:
- Do the students’ writing skills improve?
- Does engaging in the process promote students’ conceptual understanding of X?
- Do students feel more confident as writers?
- Do students’ believe the CPR process helped them augment their conceptual understanding of X and/or become better writers?
I cannot yet comment on the above from personal experience because the CPR assignment I have been working on launches next week. I can attest to the fact that, though instructor load may be lightened overall (i.e., when CPR is used in multiple assignments and/or in next iterations of the same course), the time involved in getting to know CPR and setting up the assignment has been significant.
Note 1: The project I am working on is a Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund granted initiative. See here and search for “Bradley” (the principal investigator) for brief information about that TLEF.
Likkel, L. (2012). Calibrated Peer Review™ essays increase student confidence in assessing their own writing. Journal of College Science Teaching, 41(3), 42-47.
Schneider, S. C. (2015). Work in progress: Use of Calibrated Peer Review to improve report quality in an electrical engineering laboratory. Paper presented at the 2015 American Society for Engineering Education Zone III Conference, Springfield, MO.
Overview of Calibrated Peer Review (2016). Retrieved from http://cpr.molsci.ucla.edu/Overview.aspx
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