First, I would URGE any and all parents who have concerns with either Peer Editing , Peer Grading or any issue involving their student, to first address it with the teacher involved and then if you still have concerns, to the school Principal , then up to the Administration. I’ve found most teachers and Principals will be glad to address your concerns. It also shows the school that you are an interested and concerned parent and they may recruit you to be part of the School Site Council.
Thanks to Assistant Superintendent M. Claire Abrams for taking the time to respond to my questions / concerns regarding the issue of Peer Grading.
Dear Mr. Nutter,
As I previously mentioned I did look into the question of “Peer Grading” over the past week with all principals and coordinators in the district. Thank you for allowing me the time to gather information that I believe you will find very helpful.
First and foremost there is NO Peer Grading that takes place in our schools, teachers are the final say on grading of their students. The Coordinator of English Language Arts explained the following. Peer editing is the process that takes place in our schools and many other schools throughout the Commonwealth as it is part of the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks that we embrace in teaching every day. Peer Editing is the process of students looking at each other’s work and making suggestions for how to improve. These might include edits, like punctuation marks, or revisions, like suggestions of adding more details. Students do also sometimes peer evaluate.
This may be what you were referring to as the peer grading part. Students use a rubric to look at each other’s work and provide feedback about how well that piece meets the criteria. This should include some highlights of things that are done well, as some things that might need to be improved upon. One example could be, “You’ve really hooked the reader with a great lead, but you could add more showing details so the reader knows how you feel.” That is a completely hypothetical response. Students might give the piece a grade based on the rubric, but that should never be part of the student’s formal grading by the teacher. The teacher grades the final product her/himself. It is an opportunity to build community and increase student ownership of their work.
The advantage of group/pair peer editing is that learners cooperatively work, and support each other, in other words, collaborate in fulfilling the task together.
I do hope this clarifies the concern, however, please feel free to contact me with any further questions that may arise.
M. Claire Abrams
Lowell Public Schools
Lowell, MA 01852
As you can see, the peer piece begins in grade 2. Those are the writing standards. The speaking and listening standards also suggest collaboration should occur throughout the grades.