First-Year Preceptorial

Peer Revision Handout

Peer Review: Marginal Comments and End Comments (~ 45 minutes)

Writer’s name: _________________________   Reader’s name:_______________________


Before exchanging papers, writers should write 1-2 writing issues they would like help with in this paper. Revision Assignment: Exchange papers with one person. Read your partner’s paper. As you read, make one marginal comment for each paragraph. Such comments should include:

1)      A question asked to help clarify the writer’s position;

2)      A suggestion for a quotation/evidence;

3)      A question to help the writer analyze the quotation;

4)      A reminder to:

develop connections between different aspects of the same argument;

take care with transitions between paragraphs;

write clear topic sentences;

define terms clearly;

address the assignment topic.


 .After having read the whole paper, write a 1-paragraph end comment that describes your response to the paper as a fellow reader of the text. What was the most interesting idea? What additional questions or ideas would you like the writer to address in his/her final draft? What recommendations would you make to help the writer improve the presentation of her/his ideas? In this end comment, list 2 things she/he is doing well, and 2 things you as a reader would like the writer to improve.


End Comment (you may use the back of the handout, as well)


(Readers should staple this sheet to the draft that they make their comments on and hand it back to the writer. Writers should hand in both the sheet and the rough draft with comments when they turn in their final drafts.)



 Comments on using this handout--Katherine Lynes

What follows is a general description of how I use this document in the classroom, with variation as the term goes on and as they become better readers and writers. This document could be used for out of class peer revision, as well.


I have the students complete their peer revisions in class, in part so that I can walk around and take a look at their comments and questions. I can then guide them, if they need it, toward more specific and useful comments. I emphasize (again and again) that this kind of reading helps them to be able to read their own documents with a more objective eye.


I also emphasize that I would rather see fewer but more developed comments, than to see lots of non-specific comments. (I.e., some of the guidelines in the form are not hard and fast—e.g., 1 comment per paragraph is just a ballpark figure and should not be taken as a sacred number) 


I model what I mean by developed comments for them by using contrasts:  “Great summary of the text!” [non-specific and therefore not useful]. “Great summary of the text! It sets up the context for your points about her ideas of X, so I can see where you’re going with your ideas about Y.” Or: “Good quotation choice.” [non-specific and therefore not useful]. “Good quotation choice because it helps you to establish your terms. But could you push this idea a little more? What about the idea of X, which the writer brings up but you don’t?” 


I’ve been referring to They Say, I Say as we do peer revision, as well.


On peer revision day, I remind them (or have them remind one another) what the differences are between revision and editing. In general, I ask them to work heavily on revision instead of editing.


Collecting rough drafts and peer revision forms on final paper day: I do this only for the first paper. Sometimes I skip this step if I’m relatively comfortable with the feedback the readers gave. The purpose of collecting the rough drafts with the comments is to make sure everyone understands how to give useful comments (and therefore understands how they might revise their own work). Or, sometimes I amend that step: e.g., this term, they had peer revision day on a Wednesday; they took their peer’s comments home, and took notes if they wanted to. They gave me their rough drafts with their peer’s comments on them on Friday. I read through the comments, took note of anyone who needed some help with how to give useful comments, and make quick comments of my own on the rough draft. If I agreed with the peer’s comments, I simply circled it. If I disagreed, I wrote a reason for my disagreement.