Allen’s personal comments

Students Who Don’t Want to Peer Edit


Many of my students really resist the idea of bringing in their papers for peer editing. This is sort of odd because it’s one of the few times in your life when someone else has paid big money (their tuition) to make your writing better. It’s too bad too because there are so many benefits to peer editing.

“My style is to wait until the last second.”

I have three responses to this:

  1. College is very stressful anyhow. Why would you want to make it more stressful by waiting until the last second to do your writing?
  2. You are assuming that your last-second writing will go perfectly with no glitches. Bad assumption.
  3. In my teaching experience, the last-second essays are always terrible.

“I don’t think I’m perfect enough to judge someone else’s paper.”

Peer editing isn’t a time for you to micro-edit someone else’s commas and semicolons. You will be answering much more general questions such as “Does this make any sense?” or “Did the author answer all of your questions about the topic?” (And after all, the author isn’t obligated to take your advice. If you say something wrong, you haven’t doomed the author to a poor grade.)

Are you qualified to give an opinion about someone’s paper? Yes. You can answer questions such as “Did the introduction make you want to read more?” and “Was the structure helpful or confusing?”

“This paper is too private—I don’t want anyone else reading it.”

May I remind you that in a few days, the teacher will read it.

“I just don’t want to. I have other things to do with my time.”

I guess that’s your choice. May I remind you, though, that you will get a zero for a quiz grade if you don’t participate.


The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the page author.
The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by Ashland University.
Revised 8/11/21 • Page author: Curtis Allen • e-mail: callen@ashland.edu.