Get a Boost from Peer Review
Monday, May 20, 2019
Posted by: Jane Wright, Curriculum Manager, Ohio 4-H
National 4-H manages a peer review process that improves curriculum, encourages involvement from all 4-H professionals, and is free.
If you haven’t submitted curriculum to National 4-H’s peer review process, you may be missing a convenient opportunity for valuable feedback. Whether you are writing stand-alone activities, complete project books, or other curriculum resources, National 4-H gives you easy access to trained reviewers who share your commitment to creating high-quality learning materials.
Submitting Your Work
In Ohio, work for the state-level curriculum collection is routinely submitted by someone in the state office. That does not have to be the case, however. Individuals and counties can submit their work independently too. Depending on what is submitted, National 4-H manages a blind peer review process that includes from one to three reviewers. Setting up teams with reviewers who have both content and youth development expertise is a priority.
Feedback from reviewers has definitely improved some individual titles from Ohio, and over time it also has helped us raise the bar generally on the curriculum we produce. We are better about proper use of the name and emblem (we used to sometimes print the 4-H logo in colors other than those specified in the Name and Emblem Handbook), better about including estimated times for activities, and generally just more aware of the kinds of things reviewers look for. So everyone can do the same, National 4-H makes the review checklists available online, one for lesson plans and one for resources. Refer to one of these before you submit your work, and the process will hold fewer surprises for you.
Serving as a Reviewer
The success of National 4-H peer review depends on a robust network of 4-H professionals who are willing to read and weigh in on works that have been submitted. Serving as a reviewer, however, benefits the reviewer too. Every time you review you increase your evaluation skills and contribute to the profession. Becoming a reviewer is easy. Short, online training is provided, and you are allowed to turn down a request for review if it happens to catch you at a busy time.
Many of Ohio 4-H’s project books and resources have been improved via the National 4-H peer review process. See for yourself HERE. Bulk discounts and partner pricing for state 4-H offices are also available.
Want more information about National 4-H peer review?
See the Curriculum Development web page at 4-h.org or contact Alaina Masler at National 4-H Council.