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This study examined the effects of a standardized training program on ESL students’ peer assessment practices compared to unstandardized classroom training. Thirty-seven university ESL writing students commented on a sample essay and completed a questionnaire about their perceptions of peer review. Feedback comments were coded qualitatively for focus, specificity, and politeness, then converted to frequencies for group comparison. Questionnaire responses were examined qualitatively. Findings reveal that students’ comments were more specific, polite, and content-focused after standardized training than they were after classroom training. Questionnaire responses show that students recognize the role of peer assessment in the acquisition of writing skills.