Website review by Patricia Monticello Kievlan, Common Sense Education | Updated August 2020

Kritik

Adaptive writing tool rewards effective peer feedback

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Grades
9–12
Subjects & Skills
English Language Arts, Communication & Collaboration, Critical Thinking

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Pros: Lots of templates and built-in content make it easy to get started, and flexible features make it easy to adapt the tool to suit your classroom's needs.

Cons: Some students may balk at a numbers-driven approach to something as subjective as grading written work.

Bottom Line: A cool tool for helping students develop as careful writers and thoughtful critics.

Kritik will work best for high school and higher ed classrooms. Explore the developer's website to learn about how other educators have used the platform, and don't miss the instructional videos and on-screen tips. Set up a free account and take a spin through the site to see how it works and how it might work for your classroom. Also, dig into the rubric to see if it meets your needs. You can use the built-in criteria (like complexity, relevance, and creativity) or develop your own to better match your objectives. 

When you start using Kritik with your students, talk about how it works and what it does. This tool doesn't automatically grade student writing; instead, the tool analyzes how students score each other's writing and then rewards students for giving effective feedback. Instructors can choose how much a student's Kritik score factors into their course grade, and they can talk about the purpose of this approach. Ultimately, this is a way to reward students for scoring their peers' work consistently with the rest of the class and for giving constructive feedback. Talk with your students about the importance of peer criticism. How does it change your writing when you know your classmates will be giving you feedback? How do you give your classmates productive, actionable feedback on their writing? How does it change a class dynamic when peer critique is part of your classroom culture? 

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Kritik is a platform for students to give and receive feedback on their writing. Teachers create an account and develop writing assignment prompts,  and then students in the class submit responses during a set time period. Next, students have another window of time to review their classmates' submissions, score them against a rubric, and offer written feedback. Finally, students can review the feedback they receive and rate how constructive and helpful that feedback was. 

Teachers can customize how -- and how much -- feedback counts toward each student's grade, and feedback is anonymous by default. As students use the system, they earn a "Kritik score," which is based on the quality of the feedback they give their classmates and how accurately they scored their classmates' submissions compared to other students. For example, your Kritik score can go up if your ratings of your classmates' work are generally close to the average ratings for each student's work. Your rating can do down if you consistently submit scores that are much higher or much lower than everyone else's.

Kritik is always free for educators to use, both in K-12 classrooms and in higher education, and it's free for K-12 students. There's a per-student usage fee for higher ed students, which can either be billed directly to students or be subsidized by the institution. 

Kritik is an inventive tool that automates something that can be onerous for instructors: deciding how to weight peer feedback within the larger context of a student's overall grade. It doesn't purport to teach students how to write well; that's a job for a skilled teacher. Instead, the "Kritik score" rewards students for scoring their classmates' work consistently and for giving high-quality feedback. Plus, it offers a stellar learning opportunity, as students must reflect on their own writing and on their ability to give high-quality feedback to their peers responding to the same assignment. It's easy to create and customize assignments on the teacher side, with built-in rubrics and tips and tricks for getting started. It's also straightforward for students to log in and submit their work and their responses. Overall, this is a cool way to facilitate peer feedback in your classroom, and it's a great way to help students hone their communication and critical-thinking skills while they develop as effective writers.

Overall Rating

Engagement

Intuitive features and a simple interface make it easy for teachers to customize how students' feedback impacts their classmates' grades. It's motivating to try to raise your score by becoming a more effective peer reviewer.

Pedagogy

Once teachers set up how scoring works, this fundamentally student-centered approach promotes collaboration and fosters communication skills. It's important to write well and to help your classmates do the same.

Support

Tons of videos and how-to text help teachers and students get started. Plus, there's lots of built-in content to help teachers adapt and customize their students' experience.


Common Sense reviewer
Patricia Monticello Kievlan Foundation/nonprofit member

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