Exploring the impact of giving and receiving peer feedback on associate degree students’ Chinese academic writing

  • M S Cheng

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Education (EdD)


This study sets out to investigate the cognitive effects of receiving and giving peer feedback on learning in terms of task performance and learning satisfaction, drawing on groups of students taught by the researcher in a Chinese academic writing course in a Hong Kong community college. The study employed a mixed-method design involving the use of quantitative (quasi-experiment and surveys) and qualitative (interviews) data, from which three major findings emerged.

First, the students who gave feedback after having received it on an earlier task (receive-then-give condition) performed slightly better than those who received feedback after having given it (give-then-receive condition), but in neither of the treatment groups could the performance of the students be distinguished statistically from that of the students in the no-feedback control condition, possibly due to the limitations of the study’s design. Second, the students shared that they reflected more on their own academic work if they were able to read more relevant work when they reviewed their peers’ essays. The feedback they received in evaluations of their own work also scaffolded their learning and prompted them to develop new strategies when they encountered similar problems again. Finally, a majority of students agreed that peer review was somewhat useful after the study, although dissatisfaction associated with the quality of peer feedback was also expressed.

The findings also help to meet each of the goals of the policymakers, the college educators and the students. For policymakers, peer review enables the students to reflect on their own academic performance and regulate their behaviour to achieve their goals. It is a strategy to promote learner autonomy in which the students can take control and responsibility for their own work to meet the needs of the fast-changing economy. For college educators, the reflection encouraged in peer review reduces the teachers’ workload. For students, such a process also strengthens their cognitive thinking skills, benefits their task performance, improves their marks and their chances of articulation. It is recommended that if peer review as an assessment and instructional approach is to flourish in Hong Kong higher education, further research is needed to better understand its impacts on student long-term writing development.

Date of Award26 Nov 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Bristol
SupervisorJanet L Orchard (Supervisor) & E V Washbrook (Supervisor)


  • peer feedback
  • self-financing
  • formative assessment
  • cognitive thinking skills
  • Chinese academic writing

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