Guide To Teaching and Learning

Peer Feedback and Critique

Peer assessment supports student learning, engagement, and autonomy. Critiquing and providing feedback to peers helps students assess their own work and learning and creates opportunities for them to engage more deeply with course material, while taking more responsibility for their own learning.

In this video, Katayoun Chamany, Mohn Family Professor of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and Professor of Biology, Lang College, Jess Irish, Associate Professor of Media Arts and Design, Parsons, and Mev Luna, Assistant Professor of Contemporary Art Practice and Theory, discuss how they effectively employ peer assessment in their classrooms and equip students with the tools necessary to provide their peers meaningful feedback.

Help students give effective feedback and critique by using these prompts:

  • Ask questions.
    • What is the purpose of this work [art, design, music, performance, essay, etc.]?
    • Who is the target audience?
    • What phase of the process does this represent?
    • What were you hoping to achieve/communicate?
    • Why did you decide to … [cite specific point]?
    • What are you hoping your audience will feel/think/respond to and what decisions did you make to try to achieve that?
    • Is there anything you (the creator, performer, writer) would like me know in advance?
  • Be specific. Point to particular details rather than make general comments.
  • Address the work, not the person.
  • Discuss your own response to the work and why that might be. E.g., when I read this, I found myself thinking… and that might be because… . Or, When I look at/hear this piece, I’m reminded of… It make me feel/think… and I think that’s because… .
  • Consider identifying:
    • A greatest strength: Why do you think it’s powerful or works well?
    • Some tiny tweaks: Identify one aspect that would benefit from a small adjustment or modification.
    • What was surprising: What was unexpected, engaging, thought provoking?
    • What do you want more of: More detail? More information? 
    • What was confusing: Where were you lost, puzzled or unclear?

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