Peer Review for Effective Prompts (PREP) Program

Are you sometimes frustrated by how students seem to misunderstand your intentions or miss your expectations in an assignment? Are you interested in getting some feedback from students to help revise that assignment? The Peer Review of Effective Prompts (PREP) Program may be just what you're looking for.

What's the goal of the PREP Program?

To help faculty conduct a "beta test" of their assignments. Our tutors won't actually write a draft in response to your prompt, but they will provide feedback on places where they think writers might get confused or misdirected.

How does the PREP Program work?

  • You submit your assignment and contextualizing information, as well as any particular questions or concerns that you have about the assignment. Please remove, as best you can, any obviously identifying information from the prompt.
  • The Director, who receives your information, will share your prompt with two experienced tutors who will identify strengths and possible points of confusion in the assignment. In other words, you have two blind "peer" reviewers.
  • Within a reasonable time frame (usually 7-10 days), you will have a face-to-face meeting with the Director of the Ott Memorial Writing Center, who will give you a written copy of the feedback from the tutors and talk with you about how you might revise the assignment to address the questions / suggestions raised.

What qualifies tutors to provide feedback on my assignment?

Good question! Although our undergraduate and graduate tutors may not be your peers in the traditional sense of peer review, they draw on extensive experience interpreting prompts with writers who come into the writing center. Writers are often (remarkably) forthcoming about what confuses them, so the PREP responders will draw on that knowledge as well as their own experiences as a writer. The Ott Director, who will act as a kind of "general editor" in this review process, will also chime in with experience drawn from consulting with faculty across the university and writing studies scholarship.

Is the process truly a "blind" peer review? Is it really anonymous?

Honestly, it varies. You and the Director will work to scrub any obviously identifying information from your draft. But if you're teaching in a highly specialized area and your prompt is read by tutors working in that area, they may well recognize your work. At some level, you need not be concerned about anonymity at all. The PREP responders have a deep respect for faculty who invest this kind of effort in making their assignments as effective as possible. If you're concerned about anonymity, though, please do let the Director know and we can choose tutors whose majors are less related to your area.

How can I submit an assignment to the PREP program?

Email your materials to us at