Hartley lab CAS

The Peer Review of Teaching Cycle

The typical peer review focuses on several aspects of teaching using a systematic process of collecting, analyzing, interpreting, and then disseminating data gathered from an instructor.  The review process has several activities, but not all activities are required in order to establish a valid and reliable view of a course or an instructor.  The typical review process has the following steps:

  1. Preliminary Meeting
  2. Observation Activity
  3. Debrief Meeting
  4. Reflection

The primary purpose of the Preliminary Meeting is to provide the instructor with an understanding of the peer-review process and to offer the instructor an opportunity to shape the process or personalize the experience. Prior to the meeting, the instructor would provide the syllabus, assignment prompts, rubrics, and other course documents--materials to provide context for the meeting and to begin determining how the process should proceed. Typically, the instructor and the reviewer discuss the context of the course, outline specifics regarding the observation that will occur, agree on general ground rules (e.g., where to sit in the class), and select the instruments and tools that will be used during the process.

The Observation Activity is an opportunity to collect data related to the teaching practices of an instructor.  There are typically multiple observations, and, in many cases, there are multiple reviewers.  The aim is to collect data along multiple teaching dimensions in an effort to reveal patterns or trends that may exist for an instructor. 

The Debrief Meeting is an opportunity for the reviewer and instructor to discuss the results of the observation activity and reflect upon the agreed process and products.  This meeting should occur shortly after the observation activity so as to minimize the amount of information that is lost over time.   

Reflection is a key component of the peer-review cycle.  Instructors critically analyze the feedback given by the reviewer and reflect on how the feedback might be used to enhance teaching practice. Instructors also reflect on the peer review process and use the results to inform their agenda for future peer reviews. This reflection can be noted in dossier materials.

The four-step process to the peer review of teaching allows for the instructor and observer to have timely information and feedback. Following the process allows for both the instructor and observer to grow and learn about teaching and learning.

Process Recommendations and Considerations

Selecting Reviewers

  • Reviewers typically come from one’s own home department or division, although some departments allow for reviewers from outside of the division.
  • Peer reviewers should have knowledge of Miami’s good teaching practices and university resources to support teaching and learning.
  • Peer reviewers should have significant expertise in teaching.
  • Results of in-class observations can be used in conjunction with those of Small Group Instructional Diagnosis
  • Summative reviews should ideally be done by more senior faculty.
  • The peer review of teaching process from preliminary meeting to reflection can take 5-7 hours (e.g., 1 hour for preliminary meeting and prep; 3 hours for classroom observation of a 3-credit class; 1-2 hours report writing; 1-hour debrief meeting).
  • Ideally, the review process takes place during the middle of the semester to enable the instructor to utilize the information during the current term.

Timing and Time Commitment

  • The peer review of teaching process from preliminary meeting to reflection can take 5-7 hours (e.g., 1 hour for preliminary meeting and prep; 3 hours for classroom observation of a 3-credit class; 1-2 hours report writing; 1-hour debrief meeting).
  • Ideally, the review process takes place during the middle of the semester to enable the instructor to utilize the information during the current term.