Research: Peer Editing
“Several studies have found peer editing to be at
least as effective as teacher editing”(Topping & Ehly
…involves increased time on task:
thinking, comparing, contrasting, and communicating”
“…makes available swifter feedback in greater
quantity” (Topping 255).
“The instructional use of small groups in which
students work together to maximize their own and
each other’s learning”(Johnson & Johnson 73).
Formal Cooperative Learning
Informal Cooperative Learning
Cooperative Base Groups*
*I use mainly cooperative base groups.
Source: Johnson & Johnson
Things that make it work:
Face-to-face interaction promoting each other
Appropriate use of social skills
Periodic processing of how to improve group
Source: Johnson & Johnson
To create a way to actively engage my students in
their peer editing groups
Teach them to peer edit more effectively
Help them become better self-editors in the process
Creating Expert Editors
Some key elements to expert editing:
Be familiar with the assignment content
Focus on one thing at a time
Keep track of “favorite errors”
Look at a variety of versions
Seek feedback from others
Stability – Group members should not change
Create specific roles and descriptions for each role
Provide materials and resources to assist with roles
Rotation of Roles
Create a schedule that rotates the roles on a regular
How It Works: Groups
ENGL 3 & 5 Classes
Currently: 16 students
Number of Groups: 4
Members per Group: 4
Total number of Roles: 4
Type of Group: Cooperative Base Groups
These groups are assigned in the beginning of the
semester and will not change.
How It Works: Roles
Current # of Roles: 4
For groups of 3, unite Organization and Flow into
For groups of 5, split the mechanic’s role.
How It Works: Rotation
During the semester, there are 4 major
Each student is assigned/choses one role per
The goal is to have performed each role by the end
of the semester.
Use Formal Cooperative Groups instead of Cooperative
You will have to determine the time period for which each
student will perform each role.
How It Works: In Class
First, an overview and explanation of each role’s
task is given and the assignment is discussed.
Then, students are assigned to each role’s task.
Provide a handout with a “checklist” and list of
resources for each role.
In groups, students exchange papers and review
their peer’s work from only their role’s perspective.
They are also to perform their role for their own
How It Works: Beyond
Peer-editing may take place several times during
the writing and revision process of a paper.
Students are also encouraged to continue their roles
using an online forum for peer editing.
How It Works:
Students are graded individually for their
papers, but they are required to turn in all drafts.
This evidence of prewriting and revision is factored
into the final grade (5%).
Grade individual and group efforts (giving and
Test them on the roles.
Prepare to be grouped, given an explanation of the assignment
and roles, assigned roles, and provided with samples of student
writing to evaluate.
The examples provided were drafts of an analytical
essay about territorial behavior at Lehigh.
The points were to be based/selected from an essay
they were assigned to read
Reading: “Territorial Behavior” by Desmond Morris.
Purpose: to analyze Lehigh based on what the
reading text explained.
(The purpose is not to validate Morris’s thesis.)
The key question here relates
Does the essay have a recognizable structure
that is logically organized?
Is there a recognizable introduction?
Does the essay have a thesis?
Are the body paragraphs organized in the order
specified by the thesis?
Do the sentences within the paragraphs have a
Is there a conclusion?
Does the essay fulfill the prescribed requirements
for that type of writing? Is it on topic? (Tip: Check
I.E. If the assignment was to write an analysis,
does it analyze something?
If the assignment required you to do research
and use references, are references included?
Content Editor (Cont.)
Once you have determined that the essay is on
topic, ask these questions:
Does the introduction have a good hook and
Are the body paragraphs limited to just one
Are there enough details in the body paragraphs?
Does the author revisit the main points from the
thesis in the conclusion?
The main things to consider with flow or fluency
Does the writer transition well between
sentences, paragraphs and ideas?
Do they use proper transition words where
Can you read smoothly without having to stop or
go back for clarification?
Do they tie their ideas together smoothly?
Mechanic (in general)
The key to this is knowing proper grammar and
Read sentence by sentence.
Check individually for:
Spelling, capitalization, punctuation, verb
tenses, subject-verb agreement, parallelism, article
use, pronoun references, ambiguous or incorrect word
choice and word order (among other things)
You will also be in charge of checking citations to
see that they are done properly
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Johnson, David W. and Roger T. Johnson. “Making
Cooperative Learning Work.” Theory into Practice 38.2
(1999): 67-73. JSTOR. Web. 5 March 2012.
Topping, Keith J., and Steward W. Ehly. “Peer Assisted
Learning: A Framework for Consultation.” Journal of
Educational and Psychological Consultation 12.2 (2001):
113-132. Google Scholar. Web. 6 March 2012.
Topping, Keith. “Peer Assessment between Students in
Colleges and Universities.” Review of Educational
Research 68.3 (1998): 249-276. JSTOR. Web. 5 March
Candice Quiñones, ESL Lecturer at Lehigh University
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