How students' ability levels influence the relevance and accuracy of their feedback to peers: A case study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)


Traditionally, teachers play a central role in creating a learning environment that favors the implementation of peer assessment in writing. Nevertheless, students’ writing ability and how it factors into students’ provision of relevant (content-related) and accurate (language-related) written feedback is not considered. This is due to the fact that most studies about peer assessment were conducted in a tertiary setting and researchers assume university students have attained a basic level of cognitive and linguistic developments that would empower them to make judgments about their peers’ work. The present study, which was conducted in a Hong Kong secondary school, investigated this research gap by analyzing first drafts produced by a class of 16 Secondary 1 (Grade 7) students in a writing unit. The first section of the study reports students’ writing abilities in terms of content development and linguistic accuracy; findings in the subsequent section suggest that there is a strong and positive relationship between students’ writing abilities and the relevance and accuracy of their written feedback. This paper ends with two pedagogical implications for implementing peer assessment: Alignment with pre-writing instruction and the development of marking focuses based on students’ abilities. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-23
JournalAssessing Writing
Issue number1
Early online date25 Jul 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017


writing instruction
Hong Kong
secondary school
learning environment
Peer Assessment
Student Writing
school grade
Written Feedback
Linguistic Development
Writing Instruction
Cognitive Development


Chong, I. (2017). How students' ability levels influence the relevance and accuracy of their feedback to peers: A case study. Assessing Writing, 31(1), 13-23. doi: 10.1016/j.asw.2016.07.002.


  • Peer assessment
  • Assessment
  • Second language writing
  • Writing ability