Using Self and Peer Feedback to Improve Academic Writing

Using Self and Peer Feedback to Improve Academic Writing

Salim Razi

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Education: Canakkale Onsekiz Mart University, Turkey

“Each student receives anonymous feedback from each group, which helps them to develop their writing, whilst also forcing them to look critically at the quality of their own reviews. I require multiple submissions and review these at each stage, which assists my students to revise and develop their critical thinking skills.”

Salim teaches academic writing to English as a Foreign Language (EFL) learners at Canakkale Onsekiz Mart University in Turkey, and for the past five years has used Turnitin to address increasing levels of unoriginal work at the university and promote academic integrity. Following initial success with using Turnitin, which overall saw unoriginal content decrease by 40% from one in two students to one in ten Salim looked to explore Turnitin’s online feedback tools to develop a systematic approach to providing students with effective digital feedback on their writing via the peer review facility.

One of his key aims was to encourage those students who are often reluctant to submit their work. Salim’s approach uses a combination of self and peer feedback in order to help develop key critical thinking skills which will be essential to students’ future study and work. Students are grouped according to their academic performance, ie good, moderate and poor and each student receives feedback from each of these groups using a rubric developed by Salim:

“Each student receives anonymous feedback from each group, which helps them to develop their writing, whilst also forcing them to look critically at the quality of their own reviews. I require multiple submissions and review these at each stage, which assists my students to revise and develop their critical thinking skills.”

Additional feedback is also provided by the tutor who contributes a summative mark. This whole process is facilitated by Turnitin as such a complex approach to offering  feedback from multiple sources would be difficult to achieve manually.

Through his research Salim has found that by providing students with opportunities to review their work and the work of fellow students helps them develop their own academic writing style and critical thinking skills. Specifically he has found a positive correlation between students’ academic writing and peer reviewing capabilities, in that better writers give better reviews. He has presented his innovative use of Turnitin at several international conferences most notably Plagiarism Across Europe and Beyond, Czech Republic and the Symposium on Second Language Writing, New Zealand and has published his research in several scholarly journals. His innovative approach to promoting academic writing saw Salim honoured with the Turnitin Global Innovation Student Engagement Award in 2015. For more details of Salim’s work visit his website.



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