Dissertation Defense Announcement

The College of Arts and Sciences announces the Final Dissertation of

Rashad Ahmed

for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

on May 7, 2018 at 10:00 AM in Room 448, Patterson Hall

Advisor:Emily Thrush

Teachers' Practices and First-year Students' Perspectives on Peer Review in Academic Writing Classes

ABSTRACT: Supported by many theoretical frameworks that include the collaborative learning theory, process writing, and Vygotsky's sociocultural theory, activity theory, and Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD), this study examined the use of peer review in first-year academic writing classes at a mid-south university in the United States. The study involved native and non-native speakers of English as well as writing instructors. The total number of participants consisted of 124 native speakers of English (NSOE) and 18 non-native speakers (NNSOE). The teacher sample consisted of 20 full time instructors and teaching assistants. The majority of the teachers were NSOF (90%) with only 10% of NNSOE teaching assistants. The study employed different research methodologies (surveys, interviews, and observations) to collect data. This research aimed to provide an in-depth examination of several aspects of peer review, therefore, a mixed-method approach was employed by triangulating trends from quantitative and qualitative data. The quantitative data is used to investigate students' and instructors' perceptions of peer review and to find if there are any significant differences between them. The qualitative data are used to examine the practices of teachers during peer review sessions and are also used to supplement the quantitative analysis. Key findings of the study show that face-to-face peer review during class is the most commonly used and most effective type. Regarding the writing aspects that teachers and students focus on when doing peer review, NSOE and NNSOE students appear to focus more on the language aspects such as accuracy and spelling, grammar range and punctuation. Teachers, on the other hand, seem to focus more on aspects related to writing itself like evidence and examples, organization, coherence of ideas and content. Students and teachers reported several potential problems of peer review and possible solutions. NSOE and NNSOE students showed similar results, but when compared to the instructors, the findings show several significant differences. Overall, all groups (75% NS students, 88% NNS students, and 60% teachers) reported that peer review is helpful for developing academic writing skills.