Formative Peer Review

(Instructor initiated)

A. Goals of Formative Peer Review:

  • To improve student learning
  • To increase instructor effectiveness
  • Data collection for Teaching Dossier
  • To explore/discuss teaching and learning with others

B. Formative Peer Review Process Suggestions:

  1. The instructor should identify areas of concern or areas for development
    (for example: classroom performance, course design, course materials)
  2. The instructor should choose one or two colleagues to observe his/her lessons
  3. The instructor should meet prior to the lesson (pre-conference) to discuss the context of the lesson, targets for observation and data collection methods.
  4. The instructor should consider how and when they will let the students know why a colleague will be observing the class. The students should be informed that the colleague is observing the instructor and not the students. (For example: “I have invited a colleague in to observe my teaching, they will just be sitting in the back of the room for the class and not participating in the lesson.”)
  5. The observer(s) should not participate in the lesson.
  6. The instructor and observer(s) should meet immediately after the lesson (post-conference) to share observations and reflections. If the instructor wishes for a written summary to be used for their dossier, then the observer(s) should prepare that.
  7. This process may be repeated if the instructor finds it helpful.

C. Other Available Resources for Teaching Improvement:

  • Collecting midpoint feedback from students.
  • Audio or video recording of lessons for review and reflection.
  • Participating in an Instructional Skills Seminar
  • Reading current teaching and learning research.
  • Participating in the Open Classroom program or Teaching Squares
  • Reviewing course materials with a colleague.
  • Self-reflection and journaling.

Formative Peer Review may also be a process that is completed on a rotational basis within a department. The purpose of this process would be to provide faculty with assistance, guidance and mentoring in developing their teaching skills and improve the quality of instruction within that department. If this is the case, then the choice of observers should be by agreement between the instructor and the Head. Also, more formalized and consistent criteria should be used to ensure fairness. The results may be for the sole ownership of the instructor or kept on file with the department.