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How to get students to provide and process peer feedback better-2

Last updated on 22 September 2022
Peer feedback can be an effective part of active learning. But how do you teach students to do it well? Use these tips for inspiration!

For peer feedback, students give each other feedback on their written assignments, presentations, or skills. In a previous didactic tip, we discussed how to improve the quality and impact of peer feedback. These tips expand further on that.

Tip 1: Be inclusive - correct the language last 

In a previous tip, we shared that it is best to let students look at their fellow student's language and spelling only in the last phase of the feedback process. If they do this sooner their judgement will be determined a lot by the quality of the language and too little by the structure or the content.

This can be disproportionately detrimental to students who are less proficient in the language. This applies specifically to courses where the student population is highly diverse. Think, for example, of international students who have to complete assignments in Dutch. It is therefore important that the teacher pays attention to this when giving the peer feedback assignment.

Tip 2: Train your students 

A training for students helps them to learn to give better feedback. But what subjects are important for such a training? Make sure to discuss the following issues (at the very least):

  • What is the use and importance of peer feedback?
  • What is good peer feedback?
  • How do you work from big to small if no rubric or correction instructions are given? 
  • How do you communicate peer feedback so the fellow student receives it properly (tone of voice)?

Tip 3: Give examples of good feedback sentences

Whether students give good feedback depends on many factors. If there's a rubric or assessment list, they'll give feedback mainly based on that. And a low-quality assignment needs different feedback than a high-quality assignment. Feedback on social science subjects is likely different from feedback on subjects like physics or maths.

Feedback on a higher quality paper, can focus much more on the content. Teach the student to build up the feedback sentences in four parts: 

  • an opinion on a statement in the text;
  • a substantiation of that statement;
  • suggestion(s) for improvement;
  • a reference to a source for substantiation.

View an example of this approach.

Tip 4: Use a generic revision instruction

Research has shown that a structured feedback form, which addresses the three main forms of feedback (feedback, feedup and feedforward), is extra helpful for students. As long as you combine this with detailed feedback.

View an example of a generic review rule.

Digital support

FeedbackFruits Peer Review is a good way to support the peer feedback process. Also because students and teachers can give a reflection on the feedback given. This tool is included in Canvas and is intuitive to use for both teachers and students. Read all about this tool on the Online Education website.


Other sources

This teaching tip is provided by VU NT&L and LEARN! Academy.

How to give effective peer feedback video

Watch the video