Peer Reviews for Academic Skills. Supporting Engineering Students on their Writing Journey


Peer reviews are an effective pedagogic approach for enhancing writing skills in higher education. Their benefits include improved engagement with feedback, increased use of higher-level cognitive skills, and enhanced engagement with independent learning. This study outlines an intervention aimed at introducing peer review sessions within an Engineering Foundation Year cohort. The rationale for introducing peer reviews into an academic skills module on this programme included the benefits outlined above as well as improving students’ reflective skills, fostering collegiality, and improving attendance at workshop sessions.  Prior to peer review being introduced, a pre-intervention evaluation was carried out. This identified specific issues within the module which the secondary literature suggested could be mitigated by peer review techniques. A bespoke peer review model for the module was developed by the University’s Enhancement Team (academic skills staff). Module teaching staff (including PGRs) were then trained in appropriate peer review concepts and practices. Formative training for students focused on key elements of peer review, including clear written communication, referencing conventions, and structural issues. The research and writing assignment within the Routes to Success module incorporated the peer review sessions as an integral part of its design, and the quality of the reviews was assessed as part of students' overall performance grade. This study aims to investigate the impact of the intervention on students' writing abilities as well as their engagement with feedback and attendance, contributing to the broader discourse on effective strategies for addressing academic skill deficiencies in higher education.


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