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Peer Review


What is Peer Review?

Within the process of peer review, students consider the work of a peer and review it against a set of criteria or standards.  They then give feedback to the peer relating it to that set of standards.  The process may be face-to face or online, verbal or in writing. Reviewers may be grouped or paired to give feedback to each other. Where there are multiple reviewers they may each give their own or a group opinion. Where the process is electronically mediated it can be anonymous between the peers but un-anonymous to the tutor.  In practice a peer review task is often predicated or followed by a requirement for self-review.

Why might you use Peer Review?

Giving feedback to others is an employability skill required in most professional roles.  Learning to consider the work of others in as objective a fashion as possible, and practicing expressing that opinion to them in a constructive way is all part of peer review.  It has been found that when students are asked to apply a set of standards in considering the work of others, they are then more able to correctly apply those standards in producing and reviewing their own work.

Other benefits

Peer feedback can:

  • Add to the amount and variety of feedback students already receive without adding to staff workload
  • Address timeliness - feedback while it matters and with the opportunity to act on it
  • Provide feedback in a language understood by the students
  • Provide multiple sources of feedback – more true to the real world – develops ability to reconcile different viewpoints

e-AFFECT Principles Addressed:

  • Encourage interaction and dialogue around learning
  • Create learning communities
  • Development of self-assessment and reflection
  • Provide opportunities to act on feedback

 Case Study examples of assessing peer review

If we are serious about developing our student peer review skills, we may choose to mark how well they have understood and applied the criteria and/or offer a mark for participation. Here are examples of a module where marks are assigned for peer review:


Computer Science 

Case Study Details 

video case study

Brief Description

Dr Hans Vandierendonck, School of EEECS requires over 100 Level 3 UG students to complete 3 peer reviews on four fortnightly problem assignments using PeerMark.

Civil Engineering

Presentation from an e-AFFECT good practice dissemination event

Dr Bjoern Ellsaesser assesses peer reviews of individual student reports in a group project based learning, Level 4 MEng module.

Other examples of formative peer review:

Peer review can also be used for non-credit-bearing activities. in each of these examples student can readilly see how participation in the activity should help to contribute to assessment performance:


Biological Sciences

Case Study Details

Peer-marking of practicals (Word 57KB)

Brief Description

Dr Karen King's students mark another students' anonymised practical in a tutorial session under the guidance of the tutor.  The marking is then checked by the tutor before the feedback is returned to the author.


Poster from e-AFFECT Marketplace dissemination event 1 March 2013.

Dr Elaine Farrell  - Anonymous peer review of student authored MCQ revision questions using PeerWise. Level 1 module with 27 students.

Implementing peer review

  • Use exemplars to introduce students to the process
  • Ask students to suggest something which could be improved upon or is not included which could be relevant
  • Ask students to review more than one piece of work so that the author of the work has comments to compare – and self-assess
  • Tutor provides assessment on the quality of the feedback – ensures students engage

Some tools you might use for Peer Review



PeerWise (MCQs)


List of references and external examples


Related Topics: Peer Ranking – see the Group Work Page