Performing peer evaluations

As part of this course you will be reviewing, commenting on, and marking other students’ assignments. This is a mandatory part of the course: failure to complete peer reviews will result in a mark down on your final grade.

Expectations for peer reviewer

  • Identify three specific things your peer did well
  • Identify three specific things the student could improve upon (and ideally provide a suggested approach or solution)

How to do peer review well

  • Give thoughtful, constructive and considerate comments
  • Be specific and concise
  • Use the rubric for ideas about criteria to evaluate and comment on
  • Try to learn something new and, if you succeed, point that out
  • If you can’t find anything to praise or that you found helpful, then at least offer some suggestions in a kind way
  • See here for useful instructions on how to initiate and submit reviews using GitHub’s built-in tools
  • To ensure reproducibility, you might find it useful to clone your classmate’s repo and attempt to run their script(s). If you cannot execute them, then the code is not reproducible. Also be aware your classmates will hold you to a similar standard.

How to do peer review bad

  • Your review is so generic that it’s hard to determine which assignment you’re reviewing
  • Your review is mean
  • You can’t find anything to praise/learn and yet you don’t offer any suggestions either

Performing good peer review is difficult! In graduate school we are taught to criticize and tear down others’ work and find the flaws. We need to be better at this and not just criticize, but highlight good aspects and suggest how to improve the work. This is still a habit I am struggling to break, so start working on it now before you leave grad school.