Canvas @ Yale

Implementing Peer Review Assessments

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Although the term "peer assessments" can be abstract, the overarching sense in which researchers and educators use this term suggests a two-way, reciprocal learning activity which is mutually beneficial and involves the sharing of knowledge, ideas, and experience between participants (Boud, Cohen, & Sampson, 2014). By allowing the students to use peer assessment, there are increased possibilities for students to engage in reflection and collaboratively explore ideas (Boud, Cohen, & Sampson, 1999). In addition to these motives, researchers have also argued that peer learning and peer assessments may suit some students (i.e. women and minorities) more than the common individualized teaching and learning practices found in the traditional lecture or seminar course (Boud, Cohen, & Sampson, 1999; Chalmers &  Volet, 1997; Slavin, 1995).

Examples of Peer Assessment


  • Focuses on the end of a learning activity to determine whether predetermined objectives have been achieved.
  • One example is providing feedback on a rough draft of a paper prior to submission.


  • Occurs during the process of student learning activities.
  • It focuses on improving students' learning by providing rich and detailed qualitative feedback information about strengths and weaknesses.

Recommendations for Facilitating Peer Assessment Activities

  1. Provide an example of a good peer review, either done within class or provide an online example with annotations.
  2. Think about how you should assign the peers (i.e. have the students pick their groups; automatically assign groups through Canvas; form groups that enhance the peer's strengths and weaknesses, etc).
  3. Have multiple peers review the same assignment to provide additional feedback to each student.
  4. Provide a rubric or clear, guided instructions for the peers to follow to ensure that the feedback provided to others is substantial and meaningful. 

Applications and Tools

Below is a non-comprehensive list of available tools that you may be interested in exploring to adopt and use in creating / facilitating peer review assessment activities in your course.

Peer Review Discussions

Peer review discussions can only be created with graded discussions and do not have an anonymous option.

Within Canvas, you can create a graded peer reviewed discussion. When creating a discussion, you can require students to comment and provide feedback on another student's work. Below are some helpful articles to use this tool.

Peer Reviewed Assignments

Peer review assignments can be assigned to show student names or be anonymous.

A peer review assignment enables students to provide feedback on another student's assignment submission. Peer reviews are a tool that allows communication between students and can help students master the concepts of a course and learn from each other. Below are some helpful articles to use this tool


The Collaborations Index Page allows you to create collaborations for users in your course. You can create new collaborations, edit existing collaborations, and delete collaborations, which can be useful for organizing peer review activities. Students can create collaborations in courses as well. As an instructor, you can always view any collaboration created by a student in the course, though other students can only view collaborations that have been shared with them. If you have created groups in your course, students can always create collaborations within group sites as well.

Box @ Yale

Box @ Yale is a cloud-based file sharing and storage service workspace which enables users to collaborate, synchronize, and share information. For more questions about Box @ Yale, please contact [email protected]


Boud, D., Cohen, R., & Sampson, J. (1999). Peer Learning and Assessment. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 24(4), 413-426, DOI: 10.1080/0260293990240405

Boud, D., Cohen, R., & Sampson, J. (Eds.). (2014). Peer learning in higher education: Learning from and with each other. London: Routledge.

Chalmers, D. and Volet, S. 1997. Common misconceptions about students from South‐East Asia in Australia. Higher Education Research and Development, 16(1), 87–98. 

Slavin, R. E. (1995). Cooperative Learning, Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

For more help, please contact [email protected].

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