Much research has been conducted on peer evaluation in second language writing. While different aspects of peer evaluation have been studied, most have focused on peer revision, where peers swap texts for analysis. Hanjani (2016) looks at collaborative revision, where peers work together to revise their individual papers following teacher feedback. In his small case study, he found that there were several pedagogical and affective benefits to collaborative revision, though it is not without its challenges.
Hanjani, A. M. (2015). Collaborative revision in L2 writing: Learners’ reflections. ELT Journal, 70(3), 296-307.
Peer evaluation’s theoretical approach is grounded in theories of social learning. Peer evaluation is an overarching term that includes “collaborative writing, peer feedback or evaluation, and collaborative revision” (p. 296). Hanjani reviews previous research, which has pointed to a number of advantages and disadvantages of the collaborative process (p. 297).
- The purpose of this study was to understand the students’ perceptions of benefits, concerns, and challenges regarding collaborative revision
- Private university in Iran (EFL context)
- Eight female students at intermediate level
- 90 minute classes, once a week, 15 weeks
- First 9 weeks dedicated to the writing process
- Last 6 weeks dedicated to the writing-collaborative revision cycle:
- Students would draft their essays (process, compare/contrast, cause-effect) and submit to the teacher via email
- The teacher would make comments on the text (using MS Word), print the texts and bring them to class
- Self-selected pairs (consistent each week) worked together to revise each essay based on the comments
- Hanjani wanted to see
- Data was collected via interviews
Overall, the students that participated found collaborative revision to be favorable. From the interviews, Hanjani discovered two important and specific findings. One was pedagogical in nature: students felt collaborative revision “made the correction process easier” (p. 301). Students were able to use each other to help understand and address the teacher’s comments on their work. Other students felt that peer revision helped them with their general language skills, including accuracy and awareness of errors. Besides pedagogical benefits, there were affective ones as well. The collaborative revision process helped improve self-confidence in their work. They also felt less stressed about revision, as they had a partner to help them.
Notwithstanding these benefits, there were certainly some challenges. Some students felt that this revision process may ameliorate errors on an assignment, but does not help in the long term. Some had issues with addresses certain errors, even with peer help. And still others had disagreements with partner’s suggestions.
Overall, Hanjani feels that collaborative revision is worthwhile of both implementation and further study. The collaboration is seen as playing an important role in developing useful skills for success, and it seems based in sound theories of learning. Still, a small sample size does not necessarily prove the benefits of collaborative revision. In addition, time constraints on both teachers and students were not discussed. Nevertheless, the research does provide some insights into an aspect of general peer collaboration that is often overlooked.