Individual Contributions to the Team

Peer review of teammates

Allowing students to conduct a peer review of each of their teammates helps hold individual team members accountable to one another. The aggregated results of each team member's evaluation can be used to adjust a grade for a group project. This gives students a voice in letting their instructors know who did a great job and should be recognized and who may have not contributed as much as their other teammates. You will need to decide what percentage of the team grade will be determined by peer evaluations.

How to use peer review

  • Provide guidance in peer review. To ensure that students are not too lenient, too critical, or disadvantage specific groups of students (Dingel, 2014) in their peer review, some guidance should be provided by the instructor. Students educated outside the U.S. might be new to team projects and peer review. This guidance can take the form of a rubric describing individual contribution standards or a checklist of desired attributes. Alternatively, student teams could choose their own standards at the beginning of the class. There are also platforms that can host peer reviews that require evaluation “calibration” prior to allowing students to evaluate their peers (see CATME below).
  • Have students do an early, formative peer review of each of their teammates to provide them with practice and to alert any students who may not be performing acceptably to change their behavior.
  • Have students keep track of their individual contributions. These could be summarized in a final report. They can also be provided to the team to help them in their peer evaluations 

FAQs about Peer Review

My students tend to score all of their teammates high regardless of their contribution. How can I get them to reply honestly?

Inform students of the role of their peer evaluations in both fairly assessing contribution to the project and providing valuable feedback for their teammates, whether positive or negative. Then provide students with standards for the levels of evaluation. To foster more motivation and buy-in, you may even want to have students come up with some standards themselves. Ensure you provide a formative peer evaluation early in the term so that students become familiar with the standards and have the opportunity to respond to their peers’ ratings.

How much weight should student peer evaluations have on final grades?

A small amount but enough to incentivize students to take the process seriously. This can vary based on your course and the role of cooperative learning within it. Some faculty limit it to less than 10 - 20%, or no more than a half grade difference (e.g. B to B+ or B-) of the final team project grade which is only a portion of the final grade. Whatever you choose, ensure that you can justify that amount to students.

Should I assign points for completing peer evaluations?

Yes. Assigning points to activities and assignments in our courses show that they are of value to us. It also motivates students to participate.


Note: to use any of these documents, please make a copy by following these instructions.

Online tools for peer review