Chemistry Is in the News: Assessing Intra-Group Peer Review


Interdisciplinarity is rapidly becoming a norm within both the professional and academic worlds, and the ability to collaborate is becoming an essential skill for all graduates. Chemistry Is in the News (CIITN) is a curriculum that aims to teach students this skill by engaging student collaborative groups in a project that ties real world events and topics to the content taught in the classroom. While the collaborative activity has been successful in many ways, the challenge of maintaining individual accountability within the collaborative activity has persisted. The need to balance the tension between promoting collaboration and maintaining individual performance standards drove the development of an intra-group peer review system. In developing this peer review system, four goals guide the design: the desire to promote collaboration, to produce a differentiated score among group members reflecting the contribution each person made, to improve student perception of fairness and accuracy in the assessment process of CIITN and to avoid artificially inflating students' grades. The system was assessed in the winter semester of 2004 in a large lecture course at a major Midwestern university via student questionnaires and the CIITN scores. Evidence is provided to suggest that the intra-group peer review system has met its core goals.




University of Missouri. Institute for Instructional Development
Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation
National Science Foundation (U.S.)


We also thank the MU Institute for Instructional Development (IID), the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation and the National Science Foundation for support.

Keywords and Phrases

Accountability; Group Collaboration; Interdisciplinarity; Peer Review; Science Education

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

0260-2938; 1469-297X

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





© 2010 Taylor & Francis, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2010