Peer Editing: A Comprehensive Pedagogical Approach to Maximize Assessment Opportunities, Integrate Collaborative Learning, and Achieve Desired Outcomes
Cassandra Louise Hill
Texas Southern University - Thurgood Marshall School of Law
July 25, 2010
Nevada Law Journal, Vol. 13, No. 101, 2011
This article examines an underused teaching strategy - collaborative peer editing - through the lens of student learning outcomes and assessment measures. The American Bar Association (“ABA”) recently proposed sweeping changes to law school accreditation standards that focus less on input measures, such as the school’s facility, faculty size and budget, and more on output measures, such as the school’s bar passage and employment rates. This shift will require law schools - and law professors - to articulate student learning goals and assess their achievement. To do so, law professors must find efficient techniques to assess students’ performance. Peer editing presents such an opportunity.
This Article shows how to leverage peer editing into an engaging teaching opportunity and in-depth assessment of student learning. When effectively designed, a comprehensive peer editing assignment considers projected outcomes and assessment, together with class dynamics, student engagement, and required training. This approach results in more practice-ready students, with improved teamwork, writing, and editing skills.
Part I of this article discusses the benefits both students and professors receive from collaborative peer editing exercises and outlines the challenges of peer editing. Part II shows professors how to design an assessment-focused peer editing assignment by systematically approaching the assignment in stages: (1) planning, (2) the “pitch” and training, (3) implementation and (4) assessment. Part III urges the law school community to incorporate student-to-student feedback across the curriculum. The introduction of peer editing in all law school classes will improve students’ writing and bring a team approach to the educational process. My approach focuses on legal writing but works equally for clinical and doctrinal law school classes.
Keywords: peer editing, peer review, peer critique, peer response, peer groups, peer teams, collaborative and cooperative learning, pedagogy, legal writing
Date posted: July 26, 2010 ; Last revised: February 21, 2013