PeerMark by Turnitin.com
Type of technology: Website and App
SAMR Model Rating: Augmentation
Grade level: All Levels
Subject area: All Subjects
Cost: Yearly subscription cost for NEO integration (SBUnified subscription)
Once you use Turnitin.com, there is no turning back (pun intended)! Turnitin is an originality checking and plagiarism prevention service, yet it is so much more. It offers an interactive grading program for teachers, and for students it provides peer review, revision and reflection assignments that encourage students to revisit their work and improve their writing. This blog will focus on the peer review component called “PeerMark”. If you have not yet used Turnitin, I would highly recommend reading Gretchen Hess’s blog To Turnitin or Not to Turnitin for a detailed description of how to use this website.
Q. What is Peer Mark?
A. “PeerMark™ is a peer review assignment tool. Instructors can create and manage PeerMark assignments that allow students to read, review, and evaluate one or many papers submitted by their classmates. With the advanced options in PeerMark instructors can choose whether the reviews are anonymous or attributed, decide if students should be excluded from reviews, or pair students to assign students specific papers to review” (Instructions to use PeerMark on Turnitin). Use this link for specific instructions about how to use PeerMark.
Q. Why should I use PeerMark?
A. It is an established practice for English teachers to guide students through the writing process beginning with a rough draft and ending with a polished essay. One stop on that journey to glory is peer editing. Peer pressure can sometimes be a good thing; when students know their peers will be reading their writing, and giving feedback, they work a bit harder and listen a little more closely.
Q. What does PeerMark allow me to do?
A. PeerMark allows you to create an assignment where students read their classmates’ papers online and give feedback. As the teacher, you create or choose the questions for students to address as they reflect on their classmate’s writing and give advice for improvement. For example, I chose the questions below from the PeerMark Library for my last assignment:
- Rate this paper’s overall readability.
- At which point did you feel most interested by this piece? When least? Explain.
- Rate the strength of this paper’s thesis.
- Can the conclusion of this paper be convincingly drawn from the thesis and the argument made in the body of the paper? Why or why not?
- Does each paragraph of this paper logically progress from the former ones? Why or why not?
- How smoothly does this paper integrate examples into its own argument? Does it clearly illustrate connections between the evidence it cites and the ideas they support, or does it merely assume them? Explain.
- How clearly does the author express his or her ideas?
- How effective was the writer’s use of language?
Q. What result can I expect from using PeerMark?
A. I observed 100% engagement as students completed this assignment. Students conscientiously gave feedback to their classmates and then carefully reviewed the comments they received. Next, students revised their papers to improve content and ended up with stronger essays in the end. I do wish students were able to edit for errors in grammar, punctuation, etc. by writing on the other students’ papers, but that is not a function of PeerMark thus far.
Turnitin.com is a valuable resource for teachers of all subjects and I encourage you to take a closer look. Our district has provided accounts using our district email address as a login. Whether it is PeerMark or another function Turnitin offers, this site will help your students improve their writing craft.