Comments from users
Below are some comments from both instructors and students who’ve used CPR.
What faculty say
The students in this study described PW-PR [CPR problem-based writing with peer
review] as a good tool for learning. Other collaborative and investigative tools
for college science teaching were also used for both experimental and control instruction
in this study. The cooperative group activities, concept maps, case studies or problem-based
activities, and on-line simulations or visualizations that were used in this study
are gaining recognition as effective modes of instruction. However, when asked in
an open question what worked best to help them learn important concepts in physiology,
PW-PR was listed as an effective tool more often than any other tool.
— N. Pelaez, Biology, California State University, Fullerton
I just had two students in my office hours. After asking me questions about the
reports and about the midterm, they said thank you that I gave them the second CPR
assignment on the buffer system (the one with carbonic acid and bicarbonate). They
said they learned so much about buffers compared to their previous lecture in which
they simply did calculations on pH, pKa and pKb. They said
they never learned in depth about buffers and how they work until now.
— J.W. Pang, Chemistry, UCLA
Comparing instruction on earthquakes and plate boundaries using a CPR assignment
vs. an instructional video lecture and homework essay with extensive instructor
feedback, students mastered more content via CPR instruction. Although some students
recognized the learning potential of completing CPR assignments, many expressed
great concern; accordingly CPR as an instructional approach requires careful implementation
by instructors in assuring students that they do have the ability to think critically
and evaluate peer writing about the topics in the course and that the instructor
can and will intercede at any time if students feel that their work was not appropriately
reviewed. Instructors attempting to incorporate writing assignments to develop these
skills in large, introductory science courses face a daunting logistic challenge.
This study indicates that CPR can not only develop content understanding but also
provide early training for large numbers of science students in writing, peer review
and self-assessment. Thus, CPR offers geoscience instructors a tool for building
the professional skills of future scientists but also addressing the call in the
National Science Education Standards for greater communication and explanation by
students in science courses.
— C. Cervato, Geology, Iowa State University
Statistical analyses of three assignments by 50 students indicated significant differences
between CPR and TA feedback on student writing quality. In addition, while scores
of students who received TA feedback decreased, scores of students who had CPR improved.
Students also progressed in CPR-generated measures of their writing and reviewing
abilities. A separate analysis including 256 students found no significant differences
between males and females. In addition, students’ writing showed statistically significant
— Y. Hartberg, Biochemistry, Texas A&M University
From our preliminary work, CPR is proving a very effective tool for presenting an
engineering design process, teaching multi-staged writing, encouraging students
to develop higher-order reasoning processes, and capturing student outcome data.
Additional research and data analysis is underway which better frame the effectiveness
of CPR as a tool for ABET. Finally, CPR was effectively used along with other assessment
tools to demonstrate outcomes assessment for the Electrical and Computer Engineering
programs at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.
— P. Carlson, Humanities and Social Sciences, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
Despite student critiques of the program, I still recommend the CPR program as an
excellent resource for incorporating more writing, peer review, and critical thinking
into an undergraduate neuroscience curriculum. Results of the student evaluations
indicate that CPR fostered a multi-dimensional comprehension of the course material
while teaching traditionally underserved academic skills: science writing and peer
— J.R. Prichard, Psychology and Neuroscience, Bates College
Calibrated Peer Review not only motivates students to write well, but it can engage
their curiosity about how other students answered the writing prompt. These are
two sides of the same coin; students realize that other students will be reading
their essays and that they will be reading other student essays, and, for me, this
has improved the quality of student writing. Perhaps it is because students will
be reviewed by their peers, albeit anonymously; they seem to polish the essays more
than if they were handing the essays in to me to score. Presenting either an unfamiliar
technology for learning or a new peer review process to a class can be tricky, and
presenting CPR to a class requires that the instructor do both. I have discovered
that the way I introduce CPR in my courses is very important. My approach is to
very quickly present Bloom’s Taxonomy of cognitive behaviors using the pyramid diagram
found at http://www.officeport.com/edu/blooms.htm
While there are newer formulations of Bloom’s Taxonomy and other related taxonomies,
I have found nothing that more clearly illustrates the value of writing and evaluation
to my students. Nonetheless, CPR opens new possibilities for introducing writing
into large section courses and has a number of unique tools to help students learn
course content, writing skills within a discipline, and valuable evaluation skills.
— S. Balfour, Psychology, Texas A&M University
Calibrated Peer Review is a well-developed educational tool with potential for many
applications in medical education. Students have commented that they feel the program
was helpful in preparing for the note-writing portion of USMLE Step 2 Clinical Skills.
CPR is well suited to content areas such as evidence-based medicine and to settings
where students are at different and distant sites, or when large groups of students
make individual faculty feedback difficult. Emphasizing evaluation, the CPR program
standardizes faculty effort while reinforcing informed and accurate peer- and self-review
of patient notes.
— T. McCarty, Medicine, University of New Mexico
What students say
By writing this assignment in a mini-essay form I was able to come at my own conclusions
and express the material in my words. I believe that this was very helpful because
in order to understand the material, it is extremely useful to be able to describe
and put the material one learned into his/her own words.
I have never viewed chemistry as being a subject where you write things.
Calibrated Peer Review forces the student to look into the topic way more closer
[sic] than what he or she would do out of a textbook. I know the CPR has tremendously
helped me understand each topic better although I didn’t exactly enjoy it so much.
I thought the idea of CPR was a very good idea because it helped expanding students'
knowledge and developing insight into the materials we had studied. However, I didn't
really enjoy this project. I didn't like it because there was too much research
involved and questions were very hard to answer. This project itself was time consuming
as well. It took me a long time to finish the practice before I moved onto the actual
project. Another time-consuming part was the peer reviewing. It took me about an
average of 10 minutes each to review one paper. It required a lot of concentration
I thought CPR to be good learning tool. The project made the participants review
the course material. As a result a better understanding of the material is attained.
It’s like having two lectures instead of one. Making an environment where students
have to think is a good way to make the material understandable.