This assignment will help you:
- Provide a positive model of an evaluation for your peers
- Distinguish between higher order and lower order writing concerns
- Compare your own work with the work of your classmates
- Learn to identify writing that does and does not meet the goals of
By now, you should have read and written at least one paragraph
about the numbered, anonymous drafts I emailed to your group for today's
activity. Your team should now go into your assigned groups. Using the
worksheet questions as a guide, you should privately discuss each draft.
Then, as a team, fill out a worksheet for each draft. These worksheets
will be returned by the instructor anonymously to the writers of the
drafts. Because we will devote quite a bit of class time to this task,
I expect you to consider each paper carefully and thoroughly.
In order to successfully submit this assignment, your group should
sent me one email with the subject line "Evaluation Peer Review."
Please attach your worksheets (worksheetforpaper#.doc) to this email.
I will return your worksheets to the writers so as to maintain a level
The worksheet you will use to guide your evaluation is a downloadable
For the Readers (adapted from Samantha
- Come prepared
Have each of your assigned papers read before you come to class on peer
review day(s). You should also have written comments you'd like to make
about the text(s) as you read them.
- Respond thoroughly.
Don't answer "yes" or "no." Provide ample feedback.
- Evaluate the paper, not the writer.
Direct your comments to the paper; instead of saying "you don't
make sense," say "this passage is unclear. Maybe you should
- Give positive feedback, too.
Instead of focusing on only what aspects of the paper the writer
should improve, you should also point out successful sections. This
approach enables you to both provide the writer with a successful model
and let the writer know that parts of the paper are successful.
- Don't edit.
As a peer reviewer, it is not your job to correct all (or even any)
of the spelling and mechanical errors you may find. If you notice an
error pattern (ex: the writer consistently uses "to" instead
of "too"), point it out once and move on.
- Ask thought-provoking questions instead of making harsh judgments.
Questions about content are usually more specific than comments like
"this part isn't clear." Questioning the paper's content allows
the writer to see which areas need clarified. Also, In addition, your
questions will let the writer know that you are closely and actively
reading his/her writing.
- Be nice.
Avoid using judging words (like good, bad, boring) and instead choose
verbs that help the writer modify specific elements of the paper (clarify,
develop, add, cut, move, etc.).
For the Writers (adapted from Samantha
- Come prepared
Provide your reviewers with a complete draft that you've already spent
- Keep it in perspective.
Accept criticism maturely and respond to it appropriately. Recognize
that every paper you write can be improved. Don't try to explain no-so-clear
sections to your evaluator; you'll never be able to follow your writing
around and explain it to readers.
- Accept full responsibility for and ownership of your paper.
This statement means two things. First, if you don't agree with a change
suggested by your evaluator(s), you aren't obligated to make the change
but you are obliged to seriously consider the merit of the suggestion.
It's your paper, and you should maintain your authority and voice. Second,
don't rely on your evaluator(s) or instructor to identify every single
weakness in your writing. Evaluators and teachers are here to guide,
suggest, encourage, and point out patterns. You, the writer, are solely
responsible for whether or not your paper is on topic, clearly organized,
consistently focused, and mechanically sound.