Grading/Credit for Peer Response
If a teacher chooses, some incentive for completing peer response assignments can be useful, and it can be included as either part of the grade for the paper assignment or part of a class participation grade*. Knowing that their peer will read the comments given is often enough to get students to take the task seriously. Simply giving them credit for participating can often result in productive workshops.
The response worksheets mentioned above would be particularly easy to grade credit/no credit simply for completing the assignment. Or have students complete a post response workshop reflection where they list the other participants. Think about the many different peer response techniques above, and there are certainly ways to adapt some of them to make them easily assessable as credit/no credit. At the very least, you could always give students credit for simply attending a peer response workshop by basing it off of your attendance role.
Providing more discriminating grades (such as a range of points or an A, B, C, etc.) based on qualitative assessment of the feedback each student gives could be very challenging:
- First, if students are encouraged to see themselves as giving reader responses where they are merely asked to share opinions, in some ways, all authentic responses could be considered as equally valid, even though some would likely be more useful to the writer.
- Next, some papers are easier to respond to than others, giving some students in a workshop an advantage over other students in being able to easily give good feedback.
- Finally, because responses are context driven, there may not be a simple way to evaluate the response without direct comparison with the text that is being responded to; comparing the responses to the other students draft, and then writing evaluative comments that explain why the response was not a good one, could be very time consuming.
Given how difficult the assessment task of providing letter grades or different point values could be, it is probably best to stick to credit/no credit for grading and spend your time giving more robust feedback on student drafts instead. Trust instead that the concepts of this guide can help you to run peer response activities that can be productive without having to use the stick of more formal grading. Remember, too, that if students work hard at peer response, it should help them with their own writing and reflect in the final grade they receive for that.