How do I assess students’ ability to analyse and discuss critical readings?

A student’s depth of understanding and engagement can be developed by providing a collaborative peer-supported learning environment around the readings.

Perusall is a tool designed to support group annotation of readings. Students annotate the readings presented in the tool, and they can read the annotations made by others in their group. They can also ask questions and respond to each other’s annotations.

Perusall uses algorithms to encourage meaningful engagement in the analysis and discussion of readings. These tools can be used to automatically grade the quality and complexity of students’ contributions.

Using Perusall you can:

  • Automatically assign students to small discussion groups
  • Encourage and prompt students who need support or who are falling behind
  • Automatically evaluate the quality of the individual student contributions.

Perusall discussions are suitable for low-stakes assessment tasks, such as a group of readings over a semester totaling 10%. The discussions can also support students as they prepare for higher stakes tasks (such as a research essay or literature review) in which they will apply the themes of the readings and/or the skills of critical analysis.

What are the advantages?

For students

  • Students develop skills for critical analysis of articles and reports.
  • Students can ask questions about a reading for response by peers or educators.
  • Perusall prompts students to stay up to date with subject activities.
  • Perusall prompts students to enhance the quality and complexity of their comments.
  • Students are supported to prepare for further assessments that draw on the readings, such as literature reviews, research papers and reports.

For educators

  • Perusall generates a ‘Confusion report’ which consolidates student questions by topic, supporting you to streamline your feedback to the class.
  • Grading can be streamlined or automated.
  • The activity is scalable to support and assess large classes.

Support and resources

Find out more about how Perusall supports and assesses students in the Perusall instructor resources.


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