Cynthia McHale-Hendricks (Goodwin College)
The practice of peer assessment encompasses various strategies ranging from peer review, peer editing, peer evaluation, peer tutoring, and peer critique, among others. With so many labels and definitions, it is no wonder the use of peer assessment techniques remains erratic and poorly defined. Continued widespread uncertainty over how students should provide feedback during the assessment phase of the writing process has resulted in the need for further analysis. Little has been done to standardize the way in which peer assessment is implemented. It remains necessary to identify the nature of the content of student feedback, the kind of assistance teachers can provide, and how students might better support one another. Research supports the growing recognition of the more effective nature of peer-peer over expert-novice feedback, a trend that has been driven partly by the strong support for social learning. Since research indicates that peer-assisted activities improve the development of writing skills, it is necessary to develop consistent terminology and to promote student and instructor understanding of how to design peer assessment activities that enhance student outcomes. The purpose of this panel is to find new ways contemporary college writing professors define peer assessment and to discover the most effective peer-to-peer feedback practices. The generalized conception of this classroom tool can be promising for new pedagogical awareness of how to implement peer assessment to support improvement in students’ writing skills.