A Comparison of Anonymous Versus Identifiable e-Peer Review on College Student Writing Performance and the Extent of Critical Feedback

Ruiling Lu
Linda Bol
Old Dominion University


Peer review has become commonplace in composition courses and is increasingly employed in the context of telecommunication technology. The purpose of this experiment was to compare the effects of anonymous and identifiable electronic peer (e-peer) review on college student writing performance and the extent of critical peer feedback. Participants were 92 undergraduate freshmen in four English composition classes enrolled in the fall semesters of 2003 and 2004. The same instructor taught all four classes, and in each semester, one class was assigned to the anonymous e-peer review group and the other to the identifiable e-peer review group. All other elements—course content, assignments, demands, and classroom instruction—were held constant. The results from both semesters showed that students participating in anonymous e-peer review performed better on the writing performance task and provided more critical feedback to their peers than did students participating in the identifiable e-peer review.

About the Author(s)...

Ruiling Lu graduated in May 2005 from Old Dominion University, majoring in Education. She has six years of secondary school teaching experience, and more than 10 years of college teaching experience. Dr. Lu has been serving as a grant evaluator for a federal-funded program (NCLB) since 2003. Currently she is working as a postdoctoral researcher at Old Dominion University. She may be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Linda Bol is an associate professor in Educational Curriculum and Instruction at Old Dominion University. Bol obtained her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in educational psychology, and she has maintained an active research agenda in cognitive psychology as it relates to classroom learning. Dr. Bol teaches graduate courses in research methods, program evaluation, and classroom assessment.

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