Peer Review

Have students evaluate their peers to gain essential skills in critically assessing their work.

Peer evaluation, peer assessment, or peer review is an assessment activity where students are asked to provide feedback on or potentially grade other students’ work in the course.

Different tools are available to help facilitate qualitative written feedback and structured feedback using rubrics or peer grading, depending on the goals of the course. Peer evaluation activities provide more opportunities for students to get feedback on written work, particularly in large enrollment courses.

At Arts ISIT, we have developed resources to help you apply peer review activities to your classes at UBC. Contact us for consultation and support with learning technologies and tools for peer review.


Peer evaluation can take many forms, varying on the learning goals, the disciplinary or curricular context, and available technologies. It is often characterized as taking either a formative or summative approach.

Types of formative peer assessment

  • Formative Feedback – Students provide formative and constructive feedback on drafts that students are able to revise before submitting a final product. This can be done as a an in-class activity or using a variety of online tools, including in Canvas at UBC. The final grade is given by the instructor or TA. This can also be done using a sequence of assignments. Students get peer feedback after each assignment and then are able to apply the feedback to each subsequent assignment with the goal of improving over time.

Step-by-step guide

  1. Students are introduced to the assignment and criteria for assessment
  2. Students are trained and given practice on how to assess and provide feedback
  3. Students complete and submit a draft
  4. Students assess the drafts of other students and give feedback
  5. Students reflect on the feedback received and revise their work for final submission
  6. Assignments are graded by the instructor
  7. Instructor reflects on the activity with the class

Types of summative peer assessment

  • Peer grading – Students assign grades to their peers based on assessment criteria. Peer grading is typically done using online tools that randomly and anonymously distribute assignments for review by a specified number of other students. Students grade their peers using an online rubric, and final scores for a particular assignment are typically tallied by taking the median value of all the assignment's peer grades.
  • Peer assessment of group work participation – Grading group work can be a challenge for instructors because it is difficult to determine the contributions of each student. Many instructors use peer assessment to supplement instructor grades by adding a participation component to group assignments. Students give a participation score and overall comments for each group member using a rubric based on the instructor's established criteria. The instructor then uses these evaluations to give each student an overall participation grade for the assignment.

Step-by-step guide

  1. Students are introduced to the assignment and criteria for assessment
  2. Students are trained and given practice on how to use the grading rubric and provide feedback
  3. Students complete and submit a final assignment
  4. Students assess the assignments of 3 to 6 other students using the grading rubric and provide feedback
  5. Grades are determined for each student by taking the median score given by their peers
  6. Instructor and students reflect on the activity with an emphasis on reinforcing the learning that occurred in the giving of peer feedback

Peer review resources

Related tools

On this page