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Definition of Peer Review

Definition of Peers

Types of Reviews

Formative Procedures

Summative Procedures

Summary of Best Practices

References and Resources


Summary of Best Practices

  1. Faculty involvement in developing the process is essential. Since each department has unique characteristics, faculty should be involved in tailoring general recommendations on peer review into specific guidelines at the departmental level.
  2. Good peer review processes include several critical characteristics. These critical characteristics include: openness, mutually agreed-upon criteria, adherence to developed procedures, written feedback at all stages, discussion of the results, and methods for monitoring and revising the process.
  3. An effective peer review system must be supported by institutional leadership. For peer review to be effective, the institution must value the importance of teaching and articulate this value in all documents related to the faculty review and reward system.
  4. Multiple sources, methods, and points in time must be included. The most common sources of information on teaching effectiveness include: student evaluation, instructor self-assessment, peer review of course material, academic administrator evaluation, and peer classroom observation. Reliance on any one source of information to assess teaching effectiveness is to be avoided.
  5. Peers are the best source of judgement in several areas of teaching performance. Peers serve as the best judge of subject matter expertise, course goals, instructional materials and methods, assessment and grading practices, student achievement, and professional and ethical behavior
  6. Both Formative and Summative Review must be accomplished. Formative Review that provides information used by the individual for improvement and professional development of teaching begins the first year of employment. Summative Review focuses on information needed for personnel decisions and accountability begins when a personnel decision is pending.
  7. Formative and Summative Reviews must only be used for the purpose stated. Reviews for faculty development and reviews for personnel decisions must be kept separate.
  8. Teaching mentors should be assigned to new faculty during the first year of their contract. New faculty should be given support for developing their teaching skills during their first year from experienced, successful teachers in the department or possibly from another discipline.
  9. Preparation for being a Peer Reviewer is essential. Peer reviewers can be mentors, developers, and judge depending on the type of review. Peer reviewers need to study the literature related to in their roles as formative or summative reviewers. Reviewers especially need advance preparation for effective classroom observations.


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Last Updated:
Wednesday, September 24, 2003