Carnegie Mellon University

Eberly Center

Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation

What are the goals of public reviews, critiques and/or juries?

As faculty we need to make the purpose of any public review explicit to our students. Obviously the purpose will change based on such things as when the review is held (e.g., mid semester or end of semester) and what level the students are (e.g., first year undergraduates vs. seniors). However, there are a variety of reasons we may use public reviews as part of our pedagogy.  For example, these reviews can:

  • Provide feedback that both individual students and the rest of the class can use to stimulate their continued exploration and to drive their progress on the project (if it is an interim review) and their future work (if it’s a final review).
  • Give our students an opportunity to present their work and thus hone both their presentation skills and the use of language and concepts that are specific to their discipline.
  • Give our students an opportunity to be reflective about their work as they describe their process, e.g., goals for the assignment, how they interpreted it, what decisions they made and why, etc.
  • Provide our students with new ways to think about their work through questions that challenge their perspective and broaden their understanding.
  • Help our students learn how to reconcile and integrate conflicting perspectives when feedback differs among reviewers.
  • Help our students learn to respond to criticism.
  • Help our students learn to respond to questions about their work.
  • Use our students’ work as a springboard for discussion, for example, to connect theory to practice.
  • Teach our students to critically question existing conventions through review of their own and others’ work.
  • Help our students learn to critically evaluate others’ work in order to enhance their own work. This includes peer’s work as well as exemplary works in the field that are often referenced by the reviewers.
  • Evaluate our students’ work against a clearly articulated set of criteria previously shared with students.
  • Acculturate our students to the values and sensibilities of the professional discipline.
  • Help our students to understand that there are often multiple acceptable solutions to a problem.
  • Showcase and celebrate our students’ work.

Once you have determined your goals, it is helpful to articulate them in terms of what students should be able to know or do by the end of the review. These goals, if carefully written, can help you to more easily measure students’ performance. For example, by the end of the review we might want our students to be able to:

  • Articulate the concepts, theories, principles, etc. used in the design of their solution.
  • Identify concrete ideas raised by the reviewers to assist them as they continue to develop their solution or design.
  • Identify strengths and weaknesses of their solution or design based on feedback.
  • Use the language of the discipline to describe and discuss their project.
  • Articulate the rationale guiding their choices.
  • Distinguish between criticism of them and criticism of their work.
  • Evaluate the degree to which their work meets the objectives of the project/problem.