Moving Writing Forward Through Peer-Critique Partners
Keywords:writing engagement, peer-critique partners, writing support
The author describes a simple yet impactful cycle for cultivating greater engagement and agency among students during the writing process. Specifically, the article explains how the implementation of peer-critique partners who provide one another with criterion-based feedback repositions students from mere “passengers” to active “drivers” on the journey to better writing. Feedback is found to “increase [students’] effort, motivation, and engagement and reduce the discrepancy between the current status and the goal” (Hattie & Clarke, 2019, p.3). The key is having clearly defined writing criteria that inform students of the goals or expectations for writing. These expectations should frame the feedback (e.g., comments, critiques, suggestions, and questions) provided from one peer to the next and move students beyond mere editing to true revision. Traditional commentary such as “excellent,” “good job,” or “more work is needed,” or over-concentration on mechanical errors is insufficient to move writing forward, closer to the desired outcome. Moreover, the article highlights four steps for effectively establishing peer-critique feedback partners. These steps are powerful drivers for helping students move their writing forward by implementing a true revision process. The article opens and concludes by emphasizing that writing is the evidence of thinking. For students to become more thoughtful in their written expression, they must have clarity, support, accountability, and some choice in the process.