Less is more in physics: A small-scale Writing in the Disciplines (WiD) intervention

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This article reports on a Writing in the Disciplines (WiD) intervention for first year undergraduate physics (and joint Honours) students. A short (200-250 word) assignment was designed to maximise students’ learning of specific scientific writing practices, including writing with appropriate clarity and academic style for a target audience, incorporating mathematical expressions in text, creating diagrams and referring to them in text, and appropriately using citing and referencing. Peer marking was employed to offer students formative feedback before they completed the assignment. The success of the assignment as a vehicle for student learning was evaluated by reviewing the students’ submissions and marks awarded, and through ten students’ reported focus group responses to the experience of carrying out the assignment, their reaction to peer marking, and their responses to the assessor’s written and verbal feedback. The effectiveness of the assignment’s content and process, and the peer marking, are briefly discussed, and suggestions made as to how to improve this or similar assignments in future years.
Original languageEnglish
Article number8
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Learning Development in Higher Education
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012


  • Writing in the Disciplines; physics education; peer assessment


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