At a Glance


  • Engineering
  • STEM

Instructional Level

  • University

Tasks in Workflow

Social Plane(s)

  • Individual

Type of Tasks

  • Discussing
  • Reviewing & assessing peers
  • Writing

Technical Details

Useful Technologies

  • Peerceptiv peer assessment software

Class size

  • Large (100-250)


  • Multiple class periods (2-3 classes)

Instructional Purpose

  • Consolidation & metacognition


The major goal of this activity is to familiarize students with the peer review process and teach them how to accept criticism from their peers.

In Class 1, a peer calibration exercise is performed whereby the instructor gives the students a paper to edit. The students mark the paper using a predefined grading rubric. The students are then asked to compare their evaluation with that of their neighbours and through a polling exercise, students are shown that, typically, the difference between their final grade and that of their neighbour will range from one to two marks.

The instructor then shows the students how they marked the paper. Through a polling exercise, they demonstrate that typically, the difference between the final mark given by the instructor and those of the student reviewers is usually within one to two marks.

Outside class, students are then asked to write a response to an ethical dilemma.

In Class 2, students bring their response to class and switch their paper with a neighbour. The students then edit each other’s papers using a predefined grading rubric and hand them back to each other.

Outside of class, the students will then edit their papers and either accept or reject the reviewer’s comments. The final draft is then submitted to Peerceptiv (a peer reviewing software).

Through the Peerceptiv software, the students are assigned five of their peers’ papers to evaluate (here students play the role of reviewer). The authors of each paper must also evaluate their five reviewers.

A final grade is given based on timely task completion, a weighted average of the five year reviews (based on their proximity to each other, outliers are weighted less), and on how well they did as a reviewer (which is based on how high their evaluation was weighted on Peerceptiv and also on author evaluation).

This activity was performed in a class of 200 students.

Instructional Objectives

Students will be able to:

  • Evaluate a paper based on a given rubric
  • Revise their written work based on reviewer’s feedback

Workflow & Materials


Activity Workflow

View on CourseFlow

Contributor's Notes

Lawrence R. Chen

Lawrence R. Chen

McGill University, Montreal


Students realize the complexity in making an ethical decision (from writing the paper). Students learn to judge a paper based on its merits, not only on whether or not they agree with it. Students learn what to do with feedback from peers. Students learn how to accept criticism from their peers. Students familiarize themselves with the peer review process.


Students are sometimes nervous or reluctant to have other students grade their work; the biggest challenge is having students believe in peer review and getting them comfortable with the process. In this activity, they have to get outside of their comfort zone which is often challenging for students.


By comparing the instructors scores to the student scores and demonstrate that they are about the same, they can be reassured_â__about the accuracy of the peer review process.

Applied Strategies


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