SWoRD is a complete automated peer review and assessment system. SWoRD manages all aspects of designing assignment criteria, anonymous distribution, and document management. Intelligence built into SWoRD ensures peer reviews are of high quality and grades correlate highly with those of the instructor. The result – improved writing and critical thinking skills, greater instructor productivity, and less dependence on teaching assistants. Instructors can assign the work necessary to effectively assess whether students are meeting learning objectives, while having more time to interact with students.
SWoRD is a cloud-based reciprocal peer review system. Students upload their assignments into SWoRD, which automatically and anonymously assigns the document from three to six peers in the class. Peers rate the paper and give advice for how to improve it. The authors revise their assignment and upload it back in to SWoRD, which can then redistribute the paper to the same peers for final review.
Instructors establish their own rating and grading criteria, and can customize questions to meet assignment requirements. The format for student responses can be customized by the instructor to assist in the grading process. The instructor can save newly created ratings and grading criteria for use in other classes.
SWoRD automatically determines the accuracy of the ratings through a complex process of separating out different kinds of peer review bias. In generating paper grades, the SWoRD algorithm decreases the weights of reviewer “outlier” ratings, and instructors manage grade curving to avoid the effects of collusion.
The authors comment on the advice given to them in terms of helpfulness and give the reviewers a grade for their input. Reviewers’ grades are based on both reviewing accuracy and comment helpfulness. In this way, reviewers must work hard and take their rating and commenting tasks seriously.
More than 4,000 users in secondary, undergraduate, and graduate schools around the world in many different disciplines have used SWoRD. Because of SWoRD’s unique algorithms grades generated by reviewers are just as reliable and accurate as instructor grades. Advice from peers is frequently more beneficial than comments from the instructor, regardless of content level. SWoRD allows the instructor to assign writing tasks of the most important kind (with feedback and revision) without depending on only themselves or TAs for feedback and grading. Instructors can spend their time working with students instead of plowing through endless stacks of first-draft writing assignments.