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Calibrated Peer Review ??? (CPR), a web-based instructional tool developed as part of the National Science Foundation reform initiatives in undergraduate science education, allows instructors to incorporate multiple writing assignments in large courses without overwhelming the instructor. This study reports successful implementation of CPR in a large, introductory geology course and student learning of geoscience content. For each CPR assignment in this study, students studied web-based and paper resources, wrote an essay, and reviewed seven essays (three from the instructor, three from peers, and their own) on the topic. Although many students expressed negative attitudes and concerns, particularly about the peer review process of this innovative instructional approach, they also recognized the learning potential of completing CPR assignments. Comparing instruction on earthquakes and plate boundaries using a CPR assignment vs. an instructional video lecture and homework essay with extensive instructor feedback, students mastered more content via CPR instruction.
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Calibrated peer review assignments for the earth sciences