“One idea people had was to check out Calibrated Peer Review. I have only scratched the surface at that site but I’m grateful for being pointed to it.”
That was a sentence from Andy Rundquist’s blog. As much as Andy ever has a throwaway line in a blog entry, this was it—this was his only mention of Calibrated Peer Review (CPR). I imagine that Andy simply put it in his weblog so he could find it later, on the off-chance that he ever thought about it again. But it changed my semester.
I have decided to use CPR in my real analysis courses this semester. Here is what CPR is in a nutshell:
- Students log on to CPR to get a writing assignment.
- Students complete the assignment and upload it to the CPR website.
- Students view three copies of the same assignment, all written by the instructor. These three copies are examples of differing quality.
- Students need to make judgements about the quality of each of the three instructor-written examples. The students answer specific questions about each article. If a student’s assessment of each of the three pieces agrees with instructor’s, the student moves to the next step. Otherwise, she must start the evaluation process again. This repeats until the student agrees with the instructor’s assessment.
The purpose of this step is to “train” students to critically example these assignments; this is the “calibrated” part of “Calibrated Peer Review.”
- The student reads an anonymous article from a peer and rates it on the same criteria as the previous step. This happens a total of three times.
- The student evaluates his/her own article.
- The student sees the results from other people’s evaluation of his/her article.
By the end of this process, the student will have evaluated a total of seven different versions of the writing assignment, and will have thought about what makes a good piece of writing seven times.
I was planning on doing peer review, and I was planning on having students evaluate three different versions of the same proof. This combines the two in a nice way.
[Edit: A member of the CPR team emailed me to tell me that there is a pay version of CPR that supports a direct upload of PDF files (among other things). I don’t think that I can make it work this school year, but that would render the rest of the post irrelevant.]
[Edit: Also, here is a link to a screencast on the perhaps-unnecessary process below.]
The one catch: the CPR website only accepts text and html, which does not work well with mathematics. My workaround is this:
- The student writes up the solution offline in .
- The student uploads the resulting PDF to our Moodle site.
- The student copies the URL from the Moodle site, and simply creates a link to the Moodle site within the CPR website.
This is not the most elegant workaround, but it should work. If you have a better idea, I would love to hear it.