10-second review: Adults do not perceive peer evaluation as a way to improve writing skills. They prefer to maintain control over their own writing.
Title: The Self-perceived Impact of Peer Evaluation on the Writing of Adult Learners. LA Cross. Dissertation Abstracts International, 54, 1193-A. (University Microfilms No. 93-12, 639, 1993.
Comment: Many students, young and old, in my experience, do not see the value of peer evaluation because, as they express it, it’s ignorance sharing ignorance. They also resent someone else’s dictating how they should write.
I prefer “peer review.” My students tell me that the following steps have been useful in improving their writing.
To test unity: Student writers fold a paper width-wise. On one side the writers summarize the main idea of their papers. The partners read the writers’ papers and, on the other side, write their perceptions of the main idea. If partners’ and writers’ versions of the main idea are close, then the papers are probably unified.
To test for clarity: Partners read the writers’ papers silently. Whenever the partners are confused about an idea in the writers’ papers, the partners put a question mark in the margin next to the idea that is confusing. Partners explain whey they are confused. The writers decide whether to clarify the idea by making it more complete or by clarifying the expression.
To test for smoothness: To combat those pesky “Awks,” the writers read their papers aloud. If they stumble (or go back and re-read) when reading aloud, they underline the place in which they stumbled or re-read. The partners also read the writers’ papers aloud and underline the places in which they stumbled or re-read. The writers decide if the underlined stumbles need to be expressed more smoothly.
Spelling: Even if the copy has been written on the word processor, the writers should read from the last word to the first word. Reading from first word to the last word causes the reader to read for ideas and not for the details of the words.
That’s what I mean by “Peer Review,” not “peer evaluation.” RayS.