Strategies for Facilitating Student Self-Review

Brief Description: This tip sheet provides practical methods for helping students self-review their own papers before engaging in peer review.

Contributed by Steven Corbett, Southern Connecticut State University

Strategies for Student Self-Review

An important aspect of peer review and response is trying to make sure students are actually doing as much as they can to self-review their own papers before engaging in peer review.

Carolyn Boiarskyclaims that students, often knowing that their paper will undergo peer review, might be tempted to “simply submit their drafts for review without expending the time required to evaluate and then revise their own work first [...] Peer review remains an important strategy for achieving an effective written text, but safeguards need to be built into the process to ensure that students have engaged in their own reviews and revisions before submitting work to their peers or teachers for review” (53).

Some ways to insure students are self-reviewing before peer reviewing:

  1. Have students read their papers and write an analysis (a paragraph or two) of their experience reading their papers. Was it easy to understand what they wrote? Why or why not? Was it an enjoyable experience? Why or why not?
  2. Have students write an analytical essay of the strengths and weaknesses of their papers. This essay should have a claim involving the overall effectiveness or ineffectiveness of their paper, and supporting evidence. Students should use whatever assessment rubric you use for writing in the course, especially for key words and concepts to use in their analyses.
  3. In conjunction with 1 and/ or 2 above, or as a separate activity, have students do an exercise with their papers like the following:
  4. Circle the claim or purpose of your paper and write CLAIM or PURPOSE next to it.
  5. Underline the topic sentence in each paragraph and write TOPIC next to it.
  6. In each paragraph double-underline (or highlight) each sentence containing evidence for that paragraph’s topic sentence and write EVIDENCE next to it.
  7. In each paragraph, put brackets around each sentence related to the evidence.
  8. Check to see if each of the bracketed sentences is explaining how the evidence is supporting the paragraph’s topic sentence; write YES EXPLANATION next to each one that does and NO EXPLANATION next to each one that doesn’t (adapted from Shea).
  9. Have students use your peer review rubric (like the sample one I’ve included below) to review their own papers. 
  10. Always have students write some form of reader’s note with each draft they turn in. Questions/ requests can include: What did you like most about this draft? What did you find most difficult while writing this assignment? List some aspect(s) of this draft you would like me to pay special attention to when commenting on your paper. Anything else you need me to know?

Works Cited

Boiarsky, Carolyn R. “Learning to Learn: Helping Students Become Independent Thinkers.” Academic Literacy in the English Classroom: Helping Underprepared and Working Class Students Succeed in College. Ed. Carolyn R. Boiarsky. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook, 2003.22-26. Print.

Shea, Michael. “Response to Paper #2.” SCSU English 343 Unpublished Assignment. Spring, 2010.

Revision and Assessment Guide

Writer________________ Reviewer_________________Assignment_____________Date___________


CRITERIA(Please write additional commentary on the back of this sheet.)






1. Is the text on task and written for the proper audience and in the right genre via the assignment sheet? How or how not?






 2. Is there a title? What does it do for the text (or not do)?           






3. Is there a claim orstatement of purpose? Does it seem specific and complicated enough? Why or why not?






4. Does the writer capture your attention in the introduction? How?  Is the purpose of the text clear from the introduction?






5. Does the writer’s text “flow”? Do all the parts in the text seem to fit together in the best way? Are the paragraphs and ideas of this text interwoven together through quotes, analyses, and cohesive connections?






6. Do you know WHY each part of the text is there? If not, how can adjustments be made?






7. What is the conclusion doing? Does it both summarize the text a bit, as well as amplify the claim or purpose of the text, stated in the introduction, a little further or more creatively?






8. Is It INTERESTING/ and or informative?! Why or why not?






9. Is the grammar, spelling, and MLA formatting ok? Is language clear with few typos and errors?