User Story: Social Sciences + Flash Feedback

Seeking inspiration for how to use focused peer review or single criterion assessment in your classroom? In our User Story series, we feature our teacher innovators with examples of student work and feedback from their classrooms.

Flash Summary

  • Feedback is most useful early in the writing process
  • Peer review is a great tool for engaging students in the feedback process
  • Focusing in on a single criteria makes for strong feedback and stronger writing

Meet Katie

Katie Joyce teaches a 9th grade Western Civilization course. This is a survey course using a case study approach. Students use a variety of sources, including primary source documents, to study the origins of civilization. The class focuses on taking a flexible approach to history, using critical thinking skills to evaluate perspectives and facts.

The Benefit

It actually makes my job easier! I can speed up the feedback process because the students have usually said everything I would say, or I can focus on one element of the work because the students have covered the rest.

The Work

Students submitted their thesis statements for an essay on early government, choosing to examine the strengths and weaknesses of democracy in Athens, oligarchy in Sparta, or the republic in Rome.


The thesis statement should be opinionated (taking a stand) and give a clear idea of what the essay will be about.

Student Thesis


Peer Feedback


“While [this thesis] is answering the prompt, it is not quite getting at the overall argument. The feedback hits on this, in a roundabout way, so I am able to build off the feedback.”

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