Calibrated Peer Review Part 1

Digital image courtesy of the Getty's Open Content Program
Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program

By Barbara Metcalf, Teaching Faculty Member, Bachelor of Nursing Program, Faculty of Health and Human Sciences, VIU

For the all postings on this subject see Part II, Part III, Part IV and Part V

In the fall term of 2013, 1st and 2nd year Bachelor of Science in Nursing faculty along with the Centre for Innovation and Excellence in Learning (CIEL) embarked on a journey to explore the merits of using Calibrated Peer Review (CPR) as a method of teaching/learning and evaluation. In a nutshell, CPR works on the premise that students can learn to write or enhance their writing by marking their peers’ papers. This was a first for VIU, and I know that the CIEL is hoping other programs on campus will consider using CPR, so I thought I would give my perspective on the process as the students and I lived it.

I teach in the 2nd year of the BSN program and my process was slightly different from the 1st year’s, so I will only be outlining my process and experience. My hope is that my colleagues from 1st year will give their perspectives so that those of you who will be implementing it in the future can see how there can be variation within CPR in general. In this blog, I will just outline the process and familiarize you with my version of CPR. My course was a 2nd year Relational Practice (read communication) course, and I taught all the 2nd year students. This means they all experienced the CPR project along with me.

The use of CPR in the BSN program came about after a discussion within our program about learning needs for our students. Through a curriculum evaluation, communication (specifically writing) was identified by both students and faculty as an area for improvement.  The intent is to level the CPR learning across each of the four years of the program, but we would start with years one and two. By leveling, I mean that we introduce the same concept in subsequent years, with increasing complexity. For example, the 1st year courses would introduce the basics of CPR and 2nd year would use the basics as well as introduce an assignment for student reflection on the process. The courses used were year one and year two communication courses with a major paper, and a year one course on health and healing that used a scrapbook as a method of evaluation.  A rubric for the major paper was developed and was used by both 1st and 2nd year faculty. The instructor using CPR for the scrapbook made her own rubric.

The process for me involved students handing in three copies of a draft of the paper for the course. The students used the rubric as a guide for writing their papers. The same day they handed the draft in, they took home the drafts of two of their peers’ papers. They had a week to mark the two papers using the same rubric they used to write their own papers. They handed in the marked papers and rubrics the following week. I had a week to mark the feedback they gave their peers (using a different rubric targeting their feedback specifically), and then handed the drafts along with the feedback back to the writers. They then had a week to write the final submission, using the feedback obtained from their peers. The week after the submission of their final papers, they had to hand in a reflection on the CPR process and their learning from it.

In my next blog post, I outline some specifics of the process.