Taking Up Metalanguage

Effectiveness of Student Feedback in Peer Review

Katja Thieme (ASRW & Vantage College), Laila Ferreira (ASRW & Vantage College), Firas Moosvi (Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology) Natasha Pestonji-Dixon (Institute for Scholarship of Teaching and Learning)

Stage 1, September—December 2018: Our SoTL Seed Grant supported study investigates the effectiveness of the UBC-developed ComPAIR platform for peer review among students in first-year writing studies classes. Various aspects of peer feedback that are present in ComPAIR have been studied; for instance, Cho & Shunn (2007) have shown that feedback from multiple peers led to more significant improvements than feedback provided by experts, and Jones et al. (2014) indicate that comparative student judgement is effective when compared to experienced judges evaluating the same problems. This first stage of our project assesses the quality of students’ peer feedback against the metalanguage used in assignment setup (Ädel, 2017), an approach which will have direct implications for how instructors write their assignment descriptions and for how they prompt students for feedback on ComPAIR.

Stage 2, January—April 2019: Teaching students peer review is a core element of writing studies courses in Arts Studies in Research and Writing. Peer review helps students think beyond the text at hand toward a better version, understand the genre expectations of an assignment, and apply that knowledge to their ongoing writing and revision practices. UBC writing studies courses provide students with theoretically grounded technical language (metalanguage) for peer review through assignment descriptions, in-class lectures, and peer review instructions. We are interested to which degree the students successfully take up that metalanguage in peer review in two peer review formats: as face-to-face feedback in think-aloud method and as online feedback in ComPAIR. The findings from our project will help instructors to make more informed choices about the way they direct student peer review practices when using ComPAIR.