Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Thomas Pace, PhD

Second Advisor

Debra Rosenthal, PhD (Committee Member)

Third Advisor

Mark Storz, PhD (Committee Member)


Peer collaboration about writing often functions as a required step in the writing processes of first-year writing students. Within the composition classroom, students read and respond to the writing of their peers, sometimes obtaining useful feedback, and sometimes just getting “You did a good job” as an evaluation. Outside of the classroom, the Writing Center exists as a space where students can work with a trained consultant to receive helpful suggestions and a thorough evaluation of their writing. Though the first-year writing classroom and the Writing Center exist as physically separate places, both rely on principles of collaboration and conversation between peers with the objective of creating better writers.

Composition scholars like Stephen M. North, Muriel Harris, and Kenneth Bruffee wrote foundational essays that support collaborative pedagogy for its social benefits, which encourage learning between two peer equals. The scholarship that follows these landmark essays further develops the exclusive benefits of collaboration in the Writing Center and the composition classroom. Despite the fact that both spaces rely on some of the same theories and practices, they remain distanced.

This thesis examines the benefits of a style of peer review that takes place within first-year writing classrooms and replicates the procedures of Writing Center consultations. Based on my experiences as a Graduate Assistant—which placed me in both locations at the same time—I found that a Writing Center style of peer review encourages first-year writing students to read, talk about, and learn about writing with one other person, and is more productive than large group work. The thesis begins with a literature review that discusses key essays within the composition field. Then, I explain my procedures for peer review and my methods of gathering student feedback. I also take into consideration the college where I teach and its students. Also discussed are the objections and ethical considerations associated with this style of peer review. The thesis concludes with a discussion of students‟ positive and negative responses to peer review, and an affirmation that incorporating Writing Center techniques of peer review into the first-year writing classroom bridges the gap between the two collaboration-focused locations.


40 p.