Explaining that her writing process suffered from a severe lack of sketchy annotations and half-baked attempts at constructive criticism, LSA sophomore Kelly Rinaldi attributed her poor POLSCI 337 essay grade to a lack of peer editing.
“Listen––I’m not saying a round of peer editing would have brought me up to an A+ or anything,” Rinaldi said. “But fifteen minutes of depthless, perfunctory criticism from a reluctant classmate really might have brought this thing to the next level.”
Though Rinaldi had other resources for improving her work at her disposal, she most regrets not being afforded the ability to swap papers with a similarly inept and uninformed peer.
“Of course, bringing a draft into office hours was always an option,” Rinaldi continued. “But I’m just not sure a graduate student could offer me the kind of empty-headed, illconsidered and vaguely contradictory advice I needed at that point in the writing process.”
According to the Sweetland Center for Writing, peer editing can help students bring a fresh perspective to the task of revising their own written work.
“Additionally, peer editing can be a vital resource for instructors who want to squander twenty or even forty minutes class time without so much as lifting a finger,” said Marsha Flynn, director of the Sweetland Center. “That’s valuable time a professor can use to update his Match.com profile, or time a GSI can use to send racy GChat messages to her fiancée.”
“Of course, it can also leave students even worse off than when they started,” Flynn said.