How Modeling Sets Students Up For Success

Dr. Kelly Morse is a professor of English at Old Dominion University and an award winning writer. Having incorporated peer assessment into her courses, she joined us to share how Kritik has helped her students to become better evaluators and how she set them up for success by modeling what strong evaluation looks like.  

You can view the full workshop recording with Dr. Morse through this link.

“Right now, I’m still asynchronous but when I go back face to face, I’m still planning on using Kritik for peer review. [My students] are better peer reviewers online because of the structure of Kritik…[and with Kritik they are assessing their peers] in a way I haven’t been able to pull out of them in my face to face classes when I set aside time for peer review.”

How did Kritik help your students become better evaluators?

Our mission at Kritik is to develop students’ critical thinking skills and help them build skills that are transferable and applicable outside of the classroom. Incorporating peer assessment shifts the assumption that the only people involved in their learning is the professor or TAs.

“There’s this issue that students have where their default assumption is that the reader is the professor and it brings in a bunch of assumptions about what they’re supposed to be doing that are not what I would want in a class. I’m trying to encourage them to consider that their professors are going to their audience for a very short time and you need to work on these tools going out in the world.”

When students graduate from their schooling, they won’t be submitting their work to their professors but their peers. We want to prepare students for how the real world functions and the constant review and feedback that they will receive from the peers around them and the feedback they will provide. These aren’t skills that come naturally and it’s important to extract meaning from input and help students measure success in a structured way that points out the path forward. This is what Kritik does.

The AI and distribution system in Kritik also ensures that as students become better evaluators, the platform ensures a balance of the level of reviews evaluating each creation. 

“As some students become stronger graders, those students get consistently redistributed throughout each activity. Not only do they see through the gamified system that they’re becoming better reviewers, everyone is benefiting from the strong reviewers and everyone is helping the weaker reviewers who are learning.”

What impact does exposing students to peer learning early on have on their academic career?

Dr. Morse shares how while students were unsure about peer evaluation at first, over time they realized that it was a skill that would be required in workplaces and that their peers were able to provide them with valuable input to improve their work. The pandemic has had a significant impact on classrooms across the country, however, peer learning has allowed instructors like Dr. Morse keep students connected with their peers, and with course material.

“Especially at this time where people are disconnected and really far from each other, getting to talk to peers even in a formal peer review process makes them feel seen in a way that is different from when I [the instructor] review their papers.”

What role does modeling play in student success?

“People come into writing at many different levels but for peer critique, they really are mostly coming in at the same level and I want them to learn that skill. As a writer, the peer review process never really ends.”

While the process of learning how to peer review never really ends, it has to start somewhere and exposing students to this type of learning allows them to start building skills that they can apply outside of the classroom. Modeling how to evaluate work by providing specific instructions or comparing what strong critiques look like versus weaker ones can also demonstrate to students your expectations and guide them in learning how to assess their peers.

Kritik also has a unique Spotlight feature that allows instructors to highlight model work and evaluations. Dr. Morse noted that this reinforces the idea that the standards for submissions are being met in the classroom despite what some students may think and it pushes them to provide better critiques and drafts for future activities.

Final Thoughts

“One of my students called this a gift. He said that he didn’t like peer review and didn’t understand why but then realized that it was a gift he was giving to [his peers] and a gift they are giving in return. [His peers] were able to point out what was strong and also what wasn’t working in a way that was helpful for him.”

Peer assessment and student review is a gift. This culturally responsive pedagogy is an opportunity for students to present their understanding to others and be seen and heard while making a tangible difference in their peers’ academic progress. Kritik allows for a seamless workflow, giving instructors full control over their course, but at the same time, providing students autonomy in their learning.

To see how your course and students can benefit from incorporating peer assessment, book a personalized demo today with a Kritik team member. 

Prof. Kelly Morse
Prof. Kelly Morse
Old Dominion University
Professor of English

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