Eroding Investment in Repeated Peer Review: A Reaction to Unrequited Aid?

Abstract: Peer evaluation in educational contexts has been well-researched, but there are open questions about the trends students follow over the course of repeated peer evaluation activities within the same course or semester. We hypothesize a trend whereby reviewers who initially heavily invest in giving their classmates strong peer reviews lower their performance over time due in part to disillusionment with the lower-quality feedback they receive. To test this hypothesis, we investigated a dataset of over 50,000 peer assignment evaluations gathered from three semesters of two different courses, totaling over 79 assignments. We examine whether class performance across four quantitative variables drops over the course of the semester, and whether those drops are specifically more prevalent among high-performing reviewers. We find evidence that reviewers who begin the semester committed suffer a greater drop in performance over time, and propose potential causal mechanisms for this drop as well as plans to potentially prevent it.

Full Paper

The full paper “Eroding Investment in Repeated Peer Review: A Reaction to Unrequited Aid?” can be found here.