A cross-disciplinary peer answer comparison tool.

ComPAIR is an open source online peer review tool that allows students to formulate answers to questions and then compare and assess pairs of their peers’ answers based on criteria provided by the instructor. It was developed as a collaborative project between developers at the Center for Teaching and Learning Technology and several faculty members, including Tiffany Potter (English), James Charbonneau (Physics) and Mark MacLean (Math), among others. Students write feedback for each answer as they compare, and then have the option of using the feedback provided to them to reflect on their own work.

How does ComPAIR work?

Students begin by answering questions initiated by the instructor, and then compare and comment on two of their peers’ answers placed side-by-side. Students may be assigned three or more pairs to review, and a score is calculated for each student’s answer based on the Adaptive Comparative Judgment method. Once the peer review process is complete, if instructor’s have used the scoring feature, they have the option of viewing the entire list of the students’ answers ranked highest to lowest overall. As a reflective activity, instructors can then easily provide students with examples of higher and lower-ranked answers to improve understanding of the material and the criteria for a quality academic work.

This application promotes critical thinking, peer feedback, constructive criticism, and self-reflection. The process for completing the activity is as follows:



Students read the assignment instructions and submit their response using the built-in text editor box.


Students compare and evaluate between two of their classmates’ answers randomly assigned to them by referring to the rubric/criteria posted by the instructor.

Review/ Reflect

Students review, reflect, and learn from the peer feedback they received.

Evaluate (View Grades)

Instructors can view and evaluate class performance.

How Are UBC Arts Instructors Using ComPAIR?

Example 1: An instructor is using ComPAIR to evaluate artwork and give peer feedback to four fellow colleagues to help improve their projects. The students answer three specific questions for each student pair, choosing the better of the pair for each question, and giving generous and thoughtful constructive feedback to each student. The students are then graded based on their feedback, ranking, and self-critiquing.

Example 2: An instructor is using ComPAIR to assess her students’ understanding of class readings. Students write a short paragraph response to a question about the latest reading, and then they receive three pairs of their peers’ responses to evaluate based on the criteria posted by the instructor. After this evaluation phase is complete, students then receive the feedback from their peers. Revising their paragraph afterwards is optional.

How can ComPAIR help me?

ComPAIR is a simple and easy-to-use tool for incorporating different peer assessment activities into your class and enhance student learning without increasing instructor input. It can allow students to have the opportunity to receive more feedback on their written work.


  • Simple and intuitive interface for instructors and students.
  • Increases student learning and understanding without increasing instructor input.
  • Students may receive constructive, in-depth peer feedback based on instructor-created criteria for improving their answers, which greatly reduces the possibility of students writing/receiving unhelpful feedback.
  • Easy “one-or-the-other” choice style and feedback criteria provided by the instructor gives structure to the activity while also guiding students on effective feedback-writing.
  • Allows for anonymous evaluations so students feel comfortable leaving constructive criticism to their peers.
  • Gives instructor ordered answers ranked from highest to lowest, which can be helpful for assessing overall class performance and level of comprehension.


  • Comments show students’ display names, which can be personalized by the student.


  • ComPAIR is integrated into Canvas, meaning students can access the application by clicking on a link that will bring them directly to it without having to log in to multiple applications separately.
  • ComPAIR can be added to Canvas Assignments, the Course Navigation Menu or to Modules.

Scholarly Context

  • Potter, Tiffany, Letitia Englund, James Charbonneau, Mark Thomson MacLean, Jonathan Newell, & Ido Roll. “ComPAIR: A New Online Tool Using Adaptive Comparative Judgement to Support Learning with Peer Feedback.” Teaching & Learning Inquiry, vol. 5, no. 2, 2017, p. 89., doi:10.20343/teachlearninqu.5.2.8.

Getting Started

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