All too often we expect our students to come to us knowing how to do peer review, as if it were some innate quality rather than a learned skill. The pages here will help you structure peer review in such a way that your students have a better idea of how to respond to each others’ work.
Peer review is not only helpful in having your students write better papers–it can also help them learn the relationship between rhetorical situation and audience. Remind them that the audience and purpose of a rough draft are significantly different than that of the final draft; consequently, their approach should be different. Encourage them to write questions in the text (set off with brackets, highlighting, etc.) to the peer reviewer about sections they’re unsure of. Let them substitute sections of text for outlines of where they might develop that section. Encourage peer reviewers to engage in different kinds of reponse: personal, grammatical, organizational, strategic, etc.
More than anything, be explicit in your instruction of peer review, and use the relevant sections in Composition at Virginia Tech to guide your students toward learning this new rhetorical situation.