Peer Critique in Project-Based Learning

Story about

Sarah Rivera

STEM & Science Teacher at Perry High School, Ohio, USA

Peer Critique in Project-Based Learning

With Project-based learning students are active learners, engaging and applying their knowledge to real-world problems. It also encourages natural collaboration and feedback, including peer feedback. Sarah Rivera uses project-based learning in her high school science classes in Ohio.

While gathering materials, building experiments and making observations students in science class are engaging in skills beyond science. For high school students especially, their time spent in Sarah’s science lab is just a glimpse of what the ‘real world’ will hold for them. Sarah helps her students to engage in peer feedback, collaboration, and self-assessment. These are skills that will carry on for students beyond school. However, the most important aspect of peer and self-assessment for Sarah is her student’s ability to recognize their weaknesses and make revisions.

“Peer feedback not only helps student revise and reflect on their work, but gives them the skills to be constructive feedback givers both in my class and in the real world.”

Students in Sarah’s class assess one peer’s report on basic lab report components such as hypothesis, procedure, conclusion, and style. After their peer-assessment, students then critique their own lab report. Exposure to peers work can help students view a problem from different perspectives and reflect on their work. Sarah’s goal is to get students doing just that. After peer and self-assessing, students are given the opportunity to revise their work before the final hand in. However, Sarah acknowledges that getting all her students to use the feedback for revision is one the biggest challenges with using peer feedback and self-assessment.

Using Proficiency Rubrics in Project-Based Learning

Sarah’s rubrics use clearly defined and specific terms which include; proficient, in progress, not met and unsatisfactory. She works with the students so that everyone is on the same page about what ‘proficient’ looks like, what “in progress” looks like, and what not meeting the objectives looks like. Using clearly constructed rubrics and discussing them with students will set them up to be confident assessors.

Advice for using Peergrade:

“Be flexible with turn in times! Sometimes the students take longer to get their assignments in, or you might encounter computer glitches, so set the turn in deadline to be longer than you previously thought.”

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