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Peer Review: A Jigsaw Approach

by Victoria I. Walls, MFA | 15 Apr 2020
Resource Description: This is a jigsaw approach to peer review used in my rhetoric and research class (EAP 1900). Students are required to conduct peer review at least once during the drafting stages of each major project. This activity has been applied to research proposals, bibliographies, argumentative essays, reflective essays, and presentations. I am including the prompt and a sample rotation manual for illustration. 
Audience: University
Audience Language Proficiency: Advanced
Duration: 50-75 min.
Materials and Technology:
  • File sharing system, such as OneDrive or Google Drive 

  • Laptop + Internet (computer labs are especially helpful for this assignment) 

  • Rotation manual 

  • Assigned groups 

  • Teamwork/collaboration 

  • Writing as process rather than product 

  • Close-reading and textual analysis 


Students should have a clearer understanding of concrete and abstract writing conventions, including organization, rhetoric, tone, evidence inclusion, and metacommentary. Students should also develop their teamwork and interpersonal skills. Fundamentally, this assignment is designed to help students develop their learner autonomy, leadership, and sense of ownership over their work.

Activity Description:
  1. Divide students into groups. (This assignment has been designed for groups of four, but tasks can be doubled-up or further segmented to allow for more or fewer students per team.)
  2. Have students submit essays through their file sharing system at least 36 hours before peer review day. (For drafts of 4< pages, I usually give students until 10 PM on Friday to submit their writing. That way, group members have the weekend to complete the peer review annotations. For shorter essays/projects, they shouldn't need as much time.) 
  3. The class period before peer review, use a sample essay to demonstrate how to add comments to a document and color-code their feedback. (Most use the highlighting function but changing the color of the font is also fine.) 
  4. Have students practice their annotations (and topics) using the sample essay during class. (This offers a chance for concept-checking and technology troubleshooting.) 
  5. On peer review day, allow students time to review their comments before beginning discussion. 
  6. Depending on the number of students per team, length of the assignment, and the length of your class period, recommend 15-20 minutes for discussing each paper. (This includes time for the writer to respond with questions.)  
  7. Use remaining time as workshop. 
Uploaded Files:
TESOL Interest Section: Computer-Assisted Language Learning, Higher Education, Intensive English Programs, Second Language Writing