Peer Editing

Author: Jill Torrey Emmons

Time: 1 class period
15 minutes
Materials: Copies of Peer Editing Checklist


Students have a tendency to be very independent when it comes to their essay writing, neglecting to take advantage of a valuable asset which is all around them: their peers. Students need to realize that the best writers have people to help them edit and polish their work. This lesson allows students to practice their persuasive essay writing in class, giving the teacher a chance to evaluate their skill level and abilities. Students will also apply what they know about essay structure in order to evaluate a partner’s work. This vital feedback provides students with a chance to see their essay from another’s perspective.

Purpose – Students will apply what they know about persuasive writing in order to develop their own essays and evaluate those of their peers.

Students will be able to:
1. Write a well-organized persuasive essay which contains a thesis, supporting evidence, and uses at least one of the three persuasive appeals.
2. Evaluate a peer’s essay for correct use of the above elements.

National English Education Standard
Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.

Teacher Background
Teacher should be familiar with essay writing techniques, as well as the peer editing process.

Related and Resource Websites




1. Before students enter the class, write the question of the day on the board: “What is the best way for you to edit your writing?” Allow students a few minutes to write down an answer, and then discuss their responses. Explain that peer editing is one of the most useful tools they can use to edit and perfect their writing. Why should this be? Ask the class to share their ideas, and help them to grasp the usefulness of having another perspective on their writing. Often an author becomes so involved in the process of his/her own writing that he/she cannot see subtle errors.

2. Explain to the class that today they are going to practice evaluating their peers’ writing and give feedback to their classmates. You may want to say something to the class about appropriate feedback guidelines and constructive criticism before you begin. Distribute peer editing checklists to each student. You may want to mark the papers on the back with numbers or words, and allow students to find their partner by searching for the person who also has the same number or word on the back of their paper. In some classes it may be better to allow students to choose their partners, as some may be reluctant to share their writing with students they are not comfortable with.

3. Have students get into pairs for peer editing, and give them 15-20 minutes for this process. Float around the room and monitor the activity closely to ensure that students are on task and understand what they have to do. Make sure they fill out the peer editing checklist completely.

4. You may take a few minutes after peer editing is finished to ask the class if this was a useful process for them, and what they gained from the experience.

5. Bring the whole class back together, and allow students the last portion of class time to work on their essays. Encourage them to rely on their peers and other resources before coming to you for help. Remind them to use at least one of the three persuasive appeals in their essays.

Embedded Assessment
While students are in groups doing peer editing, they may be assessed for correct use of essay techniques. Make sure to assess their rough draft writing while it is in progress, since this is the best time to correct any errors.

Students should continue working on their rough drafts.

Embedded Assessment



PULSE is a project of the Community Outreach and Education Program of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center and is funded by:

NIH/NCRR award #16260-01A1
The Community Outreach and Education Program is part of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center: an NIEHS Award


Supported by NIEHS grant # ES06694

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Last update: November 10, 2009
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