Thesis Title

Peer Interaction and Writing Development in a Social Studies High School Classroom

Graduation Date

Summer 2009

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Document Form

Print

Degree Name

Master of Science

Program Name

Education

Program Director

Madelienne Peters, EdD

Abstract

Peer review can be a valuable tool in the writing development of high school sophomores. Specifically, this research study explores the use of peer review to improve writing skills and to build content knowledge in a social studies high school classroom through the use of peer interaction. The problem in social studies high school instruction is that students do not make the connection between thinking and writing, that writing can help clarify thinking. The current educational environment does not adequately support ideas around the use of peer interaction for student improvement.

The purpose of this study is to examine peer review as a part of the writing process, and to evaluate the effectiveness of this approach in building content knowledge. Students engaged in a structured peer review process as part of a written assignment in a 10th grade world history class. The students worked in small groups and analyzed each other’s written draft. The students had guiding questions to assist in this process. Students reported a deeper understanding of historical events by interacting in the peer review process.

An interview was conducted with Sylvia Jones, an experienced high school English teacher. She offered insights into the use of peer review and the importance of modeling in a cooperative learning environment. Sylvia supported the notion that both content-building and critical thinking can happened in a social studies high school classroom that uses peer review as part of the writing process.

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