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Topic: Using Peer Review in ASL Classes

Question:  An online ASL teacher asks:   "I am curious on your thoughts about having students do peer review feedback assignments for ASL 2.  Is peer review too much to expect at that level or does it seem appropriate?

I think that ASL 1 and ASL 2 students doing "peer review" ends up being a case of "the blind leading the blind."

I have seen some programs required advanced (cough) ASL students (ASL 3 or 4?) to visit the ASL 1 and / or ASL 2 classes and function as peer tutors once a week for an hour or so during "practice time."  The teacher was always around and available for questions. Thus it became a form of a lab and was reasonably effective.  There is a difference between "Advanced" students doing peer tutoring isn't ideal but is more defensible than peer tutoring done by classmates.  "Advanced students" signing with "beginner students" is generally a good thing.  Beginner students should not be providing subjective feedback to other beginners. 
Subjective feedback involves giving an opinion.
If we were to make the feedback become "objective" (based on clear evidence) it would be better.
For example, it would be more objective to use this sort of peer review:

Watch the video of you classmate [link to student video] signing this story or sentence [link to script]. Watch the sample (accurate) signing of the story (signed by the instructor) [link to sample video]. Compare the two videos and identify specific time codes where the student's signing diverges from that of the sample video in any meaningful way and state what parameter or parameters need to be fixed and why.

Using a comparison approach with an accurate reference sample helps to avoid relying on students trying to use their own [limited and often erroneous] "knowledge" to review the other student.  Using an accurate sample for comparison means that the peer reviewer is using their brain and eyes to look for differences between two signed examples and identify those differences. This helps us take peer review out of the realm of "subjective" and move it more into the realm of objective.





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