CUNY COMPosition & Rhetoric Community

Some Models of Peer Review

Model One – Active Listening, What Works Well, What Still Needs More Work, Checking In

Perl, Sondra and Mimi Schwartz. Writing True: The Art and Craft of Non-Fiction, 2d ed. (2014)

Step One: Forming groups of four, students circulate copies of their papers and read them aloud to each other.

Step Two: Readers offer four kinds of feedback to each writer:

“Round 1: Active Listening: Readers “say back” the gist of one particular idea they hear in the piece. The writer responds briefly to each reader, using each comment to confirm where the piece is going and/or to extend it by elaborating on a new idea.

Round 2: What Works Well: Readers each identify something that works well for them in the piece. It may be a line, a series of images, an insight, a character, a point of view, to name just a few. The writer listens and takes notes but does not necessarily respond.

Round 3: What Still Needs More Work: Readers each point out one place in the text where they want to know more, or are confused, or lose interest, or find something that strikes them as off. Because the tendency is to jump to this place first, we recommend that you curb this impulse until this round. The writer mostly takes notes and talks minimally, if at all.

Round 4: Checking In: The writer is asked if he or she needs anything else to move the piece forward before the group moves on.” (78-79).

Peer Review Model Two – Thesis Statement Round-Robin

(Drawn from Hunter Peer Review Workshop Discussion 5 December 2012)

Step One: The class gathers in a circle and students write their thesis statements on the top of a piece of paper.

Step Two: Students pass papers to left. Each student writes a comment on the thesis statement they now hold. After one to two minutes, papers pass to the left again.

Step Three: Papers continue to circle around the room at one to two minute intervals until each student has their own thesis statement back again.

Step Four: Using the comments, students draft two possible alternate thesis statements.

Peer Review Model Three — Student Selected Criterion

(Drawn from Wirtz, Jason. “Writing Courses Live and Die By The Quality of Peer Review.” 2012.)

1) Step One: Students break into teams of three. Each writer composes 3 to 5 questions or concerns about their essay draft.

2) Step Two: Students share their questions/concerns with the class. The instructor makes a running list of questions on the board. Some concepts may be clarified.

3) Step Three: Students read the papers in their group and answer each writer’s questions in writing.

4) Step Four: Students discuss the papers and the feedback.

5) Step Five: Students write short “exit slips” with short reflective comments and submit them to the instructor.

6) Step Six: When revised essays are submitted, students include two extra paragraphs that summarize and reflect on the feedback they received and they gave to other students.

Peer Review Model Four — Descriptive Says/Does Outline

(Drawn from Elbow, Peter and Pat Belanoff. Sharing and Responding. 3rd ed. 40-43, Boston McGraw Hill, 2000. First developed by Ken Bruffee.)

Step One: Breaking into groups of two, students read their partners’ essays and write a says sentence and a does sentence for each paragraph or section– and then add says/does sentences for the whole essay. “A says sentence summarizes the meaning or message. A does sentence describes the function—what the paragraph or piece is trying to accomplish with readers.” (Elbow and Belanoff, 40).

Step Two: Pairs read each reader’s outlines together and discuss them.

Step Three: Each pair develops an alternate paragraph structure for each essay based on the outlines.

Step Four: Each writer records the peer’s descriptive outline and the proposed alternate structure, and also reflects in notes/blog/discussion board about ideas generated by the exercise including possible revisions.

 Peer Review Model Five – Pointing, Almost Said, More

(Drawn from Elbow and Belanoff (19-26)).

 Step One: Breaking into groups of three, students read each other’s essays.

Step Two: As they read, each student marks notes for three categories for each paper:

  • Point to words, phrases, sentences or ideas that strike you or seem memorable.
  • What do you want to hear more about?
  • What is almost said that you would add?

Step Three: Groups discuss the three kinds of written feedback together.

Step Four: Writers add their reflective notes to the written peer comments.

Peer Review Model Six – Set The Hook Game

(Sean Molloy, suggested by Elbow and Belanoff’s “Sharing- No Response.”)

Step One: The class gathers in a circle with their essay drafts.

Step Two: Instructor tells the class we are going to pretend we are a marketing focus group for a book publisher. Each writer will read his or her first sentence. Everyone will respond to two questions: First are you highly interested in reading this essay? Second, if so, you are dying to read it?

Step Three: In turn, writers all read their first sentence.

Step Four: The class votes for each writer’s hook. First, all those with “high interest” raise their hands. Second, among the highly interested, they raise their hands again if they are “dying to read.”   The writer with the most “dyings” has hooked the most readers and wins the game.