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Helpfulness Ratings You Can Trust

In Eli Review, writers can rate the feedback they received from peers. Helpfulness ratings let reviewers and the instructor know if writers are getting that they need to revise. 

Like Amazon’s rating system and other reputation systems, helpfulness ratings are most useful when participants share common expectations for high and low ratings.

In our student resource Feedback and Improvement and in a video, we explain that helpful feedback has three parts. Helpful feedback

  1. describes what the reviewer sees in the draft,
  2. evaluates that passage according to the criteria, and
  3. suggests a specific improvement.

This pattern helps reviewers compose comments that give writers what they need to revise.

By flipping that pattern, writers can rate how helpful the comment is. This 2-minute video explains the steps.


Writers can give one star for each part of the comment:

  • Description–Does the comment paraphrase main ideas or goals?
  • Evaluation--Does the comment apply specific criteria and explain?
  • Suggestion–Does the comment offer a next step?
  • Kindness–Does the comment respect the draft and writer?
  • Transformation–Does the comment inspire big, bold revisions?

Comments that have three stars–comments that describe, evaluate, suggest–have everything they need to help writers revise. Three star comments are good.

Writers should reserve 4 and 5 stars for those rare comments that change the way they think about their writing.

Additional Resources for Students

Additional Resources for Instructors

Cover photo credit: San José Library

Helpfulness Ratings You Can Trust was published to the Eli Review Blog in the category Pedagogy.

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