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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


Observation for Summative (Evaluative) Purposes

Summative peer observation involves the evaluation of peer classroom behavior to provide teaching effectiveness information used for merit, promotion, tenure decisions, or other personnel actions. Typically a departmental Ad Hoc Committee consisting of several faculty members perform the observation. In addition to the classroom observation, faculty involved in the summative review examine course materials such as the syllabus, tests, student projects, examples of students' work, student evaluations, and other related materials such as a teaching portfolio to obtain a more complete picture of the faculty member's teaching effectiveness.

Choosing or designing a peer observation instrument

The department and/or college should choose or design an observation instrument/s that is appropriate for the discipline and the type of class being observed. Peer evaluations of a faculty member's classroom behaviors can be based on this departmental form which may include checklists, rating scales, and written commentary.

Recommendations for Summative Peer Review Committee Members

  • Observers (reviewers) must respect the observed instructor. A faculty member with a strong difference of opinion or dislike for a peer may have difficulty being a fair observer.
  • Each observer should have a pre-observation conference with the instructor to discuss the instructor's objectives for the class and to review course materials. The observed instructor is allowed to ask questions about the process.
  • Each committee member should arrange to observe from three to four complete class sessions. If the instructor teaches in more than one venue (large class, lab, graduate students), the observers should arrange to observe in more than one venue.
  • Observers write a summary report that clearly represents observation results. Recommendations should be accompanied with specific examples or observation particulars.




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Last Updated:
Wednesday, September 24, 2003