Develop student critical thinking skills through peer review and comparison.

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.

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.


ComPAIR is easy for instructors to set up and for students to follow. It offers features and functions that support peer review and develops critical thinking in students.

How it works

  1. Create – Students read the assignment instructions and submit their response using the built-in text editor box
  2. Assess – Students compare and evaluate between two of their classmates’ answers randomly assigned to them by referring to the rubric/criteria posted by the instructor
  3. Review and reflect – Students review, reflect, and learn from the peer feedback they received
  4. Evaluate – Instructors can view and evaluate class performance

Key features and functions

  • Integrated with Canvas – can be added to assignments, the course navigation menu or to modules
  • 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

Arts ISIT Resources

To help you get started, here are some examples of assignment to inspire your use of ComPAIR for your course.

If you have any questions, Arts ISIT offers support, consulation, and training for ComPAIR.

Example 1: Evaluating peer artwork / images for improvement

  • Students submit images of their artwork for peer feedback
  • Each student is then assigned four peer artwork to evaluate by answering 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: Access student understanding of class readings

  • Students write a short paragraph response to a question about the latest reading
  • Each student then 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

Additional Resources


If you would like further support on ComPAIR, please connect with us to learn more about the tool and its capabilities.

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