News and Information

New Peerceptiv Knowledge Base Now Live

December 31, 2017: Peerceptiv’s new Knowledge Base user guide is now available for all instructors and students.  The Knowledge Base offers all users access to the most updated Help materials, with a focus on ease-of-use for the initial assignment and more detailed How To materials for advanced use.  Access the Peerceptiv Knowledge Base from within your account under the Help tab.

Peerceptiv now available to more than 500,000 students

October 3, 2017: Peerceptiv announced today that more than 500,000 students have access to its research-validated peer assessment system. Used at many levels to accelerate learning by engaging students in the role of instructor to their classmates, one of the primary needs is at post-secondary where universities are desperate to more effectively scale learning in their courses. Peerceptiv allows instructors to assign writing and other formative feedback tasks without having to intervene in the grading process, allowing communication and critical thinking development without regard to class size or subject.

Jason Fried, CEO of Basecamp, explains the importance of writing skills to the NY Times Corner Office

September 1, 2017: Jason Fried, the CEO of Basecamp, the provider of project management software, explains to Adam Bryant in the NY Times that writing skills are fundamental to hiring decisions, “You have to be a great writer to work here, in every single position, because the majority of our communication is written, primarily because a lot of us work remotely but also because writing is quieter. And we like long-form writing where people really think through an idea and present it.”

Peerceptiv Announces New Features for Upcoming Fall 2017 Update

July 3, 2017: Peerceptiv is planning many upgrades for the Fall 2017 semester. These planned upgrades include:

Improved User Interface Design – Peerceptiv’s new responsive design for the instructor interface premiers this summer, with additional improvements including changes to the Draft Grades and Detailed Stats pages. This re-designed instructor interface will also offer as side-by-side presentation of student documents and peer feedback for quick instructor reference. Student interface design improvements are forthcoming for the student main page, reviewing screen, and back-evaluation page.
AWS Migration – In order to provide a more robust and reliable site, Peerceptiv is changing cloud hosting providers to Amazon Web Services. This migration to AWS will take place in mid-July. Scheduled maintenance will be brief and announced ahead of this migration.
Manual Grade Publication – Peerceptiv will allow teachers to hold student grades for manual release. By default, assignment grades publish at the scheduled end of the back-evaluation period. Now, instructors can accept this default or wait to manually release grades.
Assignment Sets for LTI Users – Peerceptiv will support assignment sets for Peerceptiv assignments linked in a Learning Management System (Blackboard, Canvas, D2L, etc.). Assignment sets allow instructors to create multiple versions of a single assignment. Within the LMS, instructors can associate groups of students with each version of the assignment and release the link for an assignment version only to those students participating in that particular assignment version. Within Peerceptiv, a new assignment-level setting allows instructors to turn off student notifications for assignments within an assignment set.
• Self Assessment – Our new self assessment option complements traditional peer assessment. In assignments which require self assessment, students rate their own submission according to the same reviewing rubric used to evaluate peer submissions. Completion of the self assessment will be graded as a component of the Task Grade.

Colleges Failing to Develop Critical Thinking Skills

June 5, 2017: Douglas Belkin reports in the Wall Street Journal that many colleges are failing to develop critical thinking skills. According to the results of the CLA+, a standardized test measuring analytical reasoning and problem solving, students at many universities are showing little improvement between freshmen and senior years. Peerceptiv helps universities develop critical thinking skills and scale learning by engaging students in the role of teacher to their classmates.

Improved Writing Engagement at McGill

June 5, 2017: Professors at McGill University in Montreal are using Peerceptiv to more effectively engage students in writing assignments. The Teaching for Learning Blog reports a high level of peer feedback provided the rubrics are sufficiently defined. Peerceptiv is used to easily assign multiple assignments over the semester, allowing for more sustained engagement and more effective understanding of the core concepts in the course.

Peerceptiv Case Study – Peer Assessment in the Sciences

April 6, 2017: Dr. Craig Coates of Texas A&M University’s Department of Entomology produced a case study on the use of peer assessment in the sciences. Looking for a way to engage students and deeply assess course performance, Dr. Coates turned to Peerceptiv. Read the case study here to learn about student feedback and performance in this Texas A&M course.

Peerceptiv now a Canvas Certified Partner

March 29, 2017: Peerceptiv is pleased to announce that it is now an Canvas Certified Partner.

Peerceptiv has been working with universities to integrate directly with the Canvas LMS for years, and with this new partnership Peerceptiv looks forward to a closer working relationship with Canvas and an even easier integration with the LMS.

The integration currently allows for auto-generation of student accounts within Peerceptiv, all course and document management taking place within the Canvas interface, and automatic grade-passback of the overall grade into the Canvas gradebook.

Please click here for the full press release.

New Research Report on Student Perceptions of Peer Assessment

January 5, 2017: A recent study published in Research in the Teaching of English found that most secondary school students believe that using the Peerceptiv (SWoRD) technology is beneficial to their writing development. The questioned students perceived 3 aspects of the peer assessment process as most valuable to their learning: anonymity of writers and reviewers, the opportunity to review each other’s work products, and feedback from multiple peers. Please click here to view the study.

Peerceptiv Working to Improve English Language Outcomes in China

September 26, 2016: Peerceptiv is pleased to announce a partnership with the Shanghai Foreign Language Electronic Publishing House ( in a trial at 7 universities across China. China has an estimated 300 million English students, and the SFLEPH is investigating whether use of Peerceptiv can have a significant impact in the language learning process. The Shanghai Foreign Language Electronic Publishing House edits, processes and publishes audiovisual, electronic and web-based foreign language teaching materials, and will guide the trial with approximately 2,000 students throughout the 2016-17 academic year.

Peerceptiv Welcomes New Campus-wide Licenses

September 1, 2016:  Peerceptiv is proud to announce new campus-wide agreements with a number of colleges and universities, including McGill University, the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Iowa, the University of Texas Medical Branch, and John Abbott College. Peerceptiv is integrated with Learning Management Systems at McGill (Brightspace by D2L), Iowa (Canvas), and at Pitt and UTMB (Blackboard Learn).

Marshall Memo Summarizes Peer Assessment Research

July 20, 2016: A summary in the Marshall Memo (Marshall Memo 645, July 11, 2016) describes the effectiveness of peer assessment in improving student writing at the secondary school level. This research, published by Christian Schunn, Amanda Godley, and Sara DeMartino in the Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, (July/August 2016, Vol. 60, #1, p. 13-23), found that student scores were “remarkably consistent”, and correlated highly with expert AP scorers. (Dr. Schunn is Peerceptiv’s Scientific Advisor.) Many students felt the most valuable part of the exercise was viewing successful strategies and weaknesses in the work of their classmates. The results suggest peer assessment may be effectively used to improve secondary school writing skills, in part by allowing teachers to more frequently assign writing tasks without adding to their workload.

For the complete research summary, please see

Peerceptiv takes the Pledge!

March 31, 2016: Peerceptiv is now a signatory on the Student Privacy Pledge, sponsored by the Future of Privacy Forum. Peerceptiv does no advertising, and never sells data to any third parties for any reason. Click here for more information on the Peerceptiv Privacy Policy.

Peerceptiv Welcomes Texas A&M

January 19, 2016:  Peerceptiv is now offered as a campus-wide license at Texas A&M University. Peerceptiv will be used this semester in a number of STEM courses to improve critical thinking and writing skills. Instructors and students will access Peerceptiv from within eCampus, Texas A&M’s Blackboard Learn LMS.

Active, Collaborative Classrooms Offer Superior Learning Outcomes

September 21, 2015: Author and consultant Annie Murphy Paul writes in the New York Times that active learning is superior to traditional lectures. “The act of putting one’s own thoughts into words and communicating them to others, research has shown, is a powerful contributor to learning.”

Peer-to-peer Learning to Transform Education by 2025

August 17, 2015:  Forbes Magazine reports that peer-to-peer learning is one of five trends that will transform education by 2025. Among other findings, Forbes reported high reliability between multiple peer and expert assessment, high scalability, and low cost when employing peer-to-peer learning properly.

Peerceptiv Posts New Pricing – Announces 2015-16 Upgrades

July 1, 2015:  Peerceptiv has posted its pricing for Faculty Pack, Department Pack, and Student Purchase licenses for the 2015-16 academic year. Please refer to the Pricing Plans page for more information. Peerceptiv will be releasing a number of important upgrades in the Fall Semester, including:


  • Rubric Library – Instructors will now be able to opt-in to participate in a shared rubric library, allowing them to find proven assessment exercises in their specific discipline and pull those into their assignment. The library of assignments, prompts, and rubrics will be searchable by content as well as by past performance as measured by Peerceptiv analytics of reliability and helpfulness.
  • Support for Group Submissions – Many instructors want to engage their students in completion and peer assessment of group projects. New for Fall semester with be direct support for group submissions (e.g., reviewing assignments automatically distributed to non-group members; default settings specific to group assignments.)
  • Training Assignments – Instructors will now be able to upload example and high and low quality documents to train students on appropriate use of the rubrics, while also having students learning how to give helpful comments.


The Power of Peer Feedback

June 20, 2015: Hear Dr. Chris Schunn’s address, The Power of Peer Feedback, at the 2015 Institute for Learning National Conference in Baltimore. The focus of the IFL Conference was K-12 education, but many of Dr. Schunn’s comments are applicable at the post-secondary level as well. Dr. Schunn earned his PhD in Psychology at Carnegie Mellon, is a professor of Psychology, Learning Sciences, and Intelligent Systems at the University of Pittsburgh Learning Research & Development Center, and is the Director of Technology at Peerceptiv.

Positive Feedback for Peerceptiv

June 8, 2015: AP Language and Composition instructor Emily Snedeker at the G-Star School of the Arts in West Palm Beach, FL reports that her students find SWoRD Peer Assessment (the research version of Peerceptiv) to be valuable in the classroom. One student reported the SWoRD assignment, “aided me greatly in understanding the mechanics and format of a good rhetorical essay, which in the long term aided me on the AP Test.” See the complete teacher report from Ms. Snedeker here.

Peerceptiv now a Schoology Partner

May 27, 2015: Peerceptiv is pleased to announce Peerceptiv is now a Schoology partner. Schools using Schoology may now use Peerceptiv within the learning management system via the LTI interface.

Purdue President Mitch Daniels on Saving America’s Colleges

April 24, 2015: Kate Bachelder writes in the Wall Street Journal, “Mr. Daniels has also set out to measure what Purdue students are learning. More than 35% of college students at a range of four-year institutions showed no growth between freshman year and commencement in areas like critical thinking and writing … more than half of four-year college graduates could not compare viewpoints in newspaper editorials.”

40% of College Graduates Ill-prepared for Employment

January 17, 2015: Douglas Belkin reports in the Wall Street Journal that 40% of college graduates lack the critical thinking skills necessary for employment…

Peerceptiv Welcomes the University of Florida

January 5, 2015: The University of Florida is now a Peerceptiv campus-wide customer. Professors for all the university’s 50,000 students may now use Peerceptiv to improve writing and critical thinking skills in classrooms of all sizes, including in the UF Online program.

Panther Learning Wins Ed Tech Company of the Year Award

October 21, 2014: The Pittsburgh Technology Council awarded Panther Learning as the Ed Tech company of the year in its annual Tech50 awards dinner, honoring southwestern Pennsylvania’s most successful and innovative technology companies. Congratulations to Bill Rooney, Chris Schunn, Aleks Ivetic, and the rest of the Panther Learning team. Congratulations also to the other nominees Acrobatiq, BloomBoard, BirdBrain Technologies, Zulama, and Wombat Security Technologies in building Pittsburgh’s reputation as an Ed Tech hub.

Panther Learning Announces Peerceptiv™

Panther Learning is pleased to announce Peerceptiv, the new name for SWoRD Peer Assessment and all its technologies to improve writing and critical thinking skills through peer assessment. Peerceptiv uses analytics to engage students in ways that make assessment part of the learning process, and unburdens instructors in efforts to promote thinking and learning through writing. SWoRD™ will continue as the name for all peer assessment research at the University of Pittsburgh; upgrades will be added to Peerceptiv as development and testing are completed.  See the Educause 2014 press announcement here.

Panther Learning Welcomes New Schools

August 6, 2014: Panther Learning welcomes two new schools this week.   Georgia State University in Atlanta and River Dell High School in Orodell, N.J. will be offering SWoRD Peer Assessment to students across their curricula.   “We are thrilled to be working with Georgia State and River Dell High School,” said Mark Limbach, CEO of Panther Learning.   “This allows more than 33,000 students to benefit from SWoRD Peer Assessment, and demonstrates the breadth of need.  Development of writing and critical thinking skills is a priority at both the secondary and post-secondary levels.”

Panther Learning now a Desire2Learn Select Partner

May 21, 2014:  Panther Learning has joined the Desire2Learn Partner Network, and is proud to announce integration of SWoRD Peer Assessment in the Desire2Learn LMS via the LTI interoperability standard.   LTI integration with D2L allows Desire2Learn customers to seamlessly integrate SWoRD Peer Assessment into their learning environment.   For more information, contact

Is there a Good Way to Use Peer Review to Add Writing in the Classroom?

February 17, 2014: Hear Dr. Chris Schunn, the creator of SWoRD Peer Assessment and Panther Learning’s Director of Technology, discuss how to effectively offer peer review to improve writing skills.

CNBC Reports on the Importance of Effective Communication Skills in the Workplace

November 11, 2013:  A recent article in CNBC describes how disappointed employers are with the communication skills of potential new hires.   Why Johnny Can’t Write, and Why Employers are Mad discusses how critical written and oral communication is in the workplace, and how more effective communication is key to lowering the unemployment rate.  “In survey after survey, employers are complaining about job candidates’ inability to speak and write clearly.”

Panther Learning Introduces New SWoRD User Interface

September 3, 2013:  Panther Learning introduces the new SWoRD Peer Review user interface today. The more graphical and intuitive interface will be simpler for both instructors and students to navigate.   It will be clearer for students to know where they are in the peer review process, and what is expected of them.  Instructors will find it easier to manage student data and grades, and the Soft Deadline feature will allow for much more flexibility in handling late submissions.

SWoRD Peer Review now an Instructure Learning App

June 10, 2013: SWoRD Peer Review has joined Instructure’s open collection of learning apps for the Canvas Learning Management System. Canvas users may now use SWoRD seamlessly within the LMS via the LTI interface. Panther Learning has also become a Community Partner with Instructure, and is available in the Edu App Center.

SWoRD Peer Review Selected by Carnegie Mellon OLI Initiative

April 5, 2013: The Carnegie Mellon Open Learning (OLI) Initiative selected SWoRD Peer Review for an English composition pilot project at six community colleges and universities, including the University of Mississippi. See our Press Release.

SWoRD Peer Review Now LTI Compliant

February 15, 2013: Panther Learning is now LTI (Learning Tool Interoperability) V1.1 compliant. Meeting the LTI standard allows SWoRD Peer Review to integrate seamlessly with a wide variety of Learning Management Systems.

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