Peer Review

What is Peer Review?

Peer review is evaluation, by colleagues or peers, of all teaching-related activities for either formative (for development) or summative (for personnel decision) purposes. Because there are different purposes for each type of evaluation, the processes may be conducted independently of each other. Components of either type of review may include unit materials, student evaluations, teaching portfolios, documentation of teaching philosophy, teacher self-assessments, classroom observations, and other activities that may be appropriate to a discipline.

How does Peer Review impact my teaching?

Peer review of teaching is not intended to replace student evaluations. Experts indicate that although students are the most appropriate judges of day-to-day teacher behaviours and attitudes in the classroom, they are not the most appropriate judges of the accuracy of course content, use of acceptable teaching strategies in the discipline, and the like. For these kinds of judgments, peers are the most appropriate source of information.

Based on a review of the literature on peer review of learning and teaching, Peer Review of Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (2014) colleagues can reliably evaluate:

  1. Commitment to teaching and concern for student learning;
  2. Selection of unit and learning activity content;
  3. Mastery of unit or learning activity content;
  4. Unit or learning activity organisation;
  5. Appropriateness of unit or learning activity outcomes;
  6. Appropriateness of educational materials (such as readings, media, visual aids);
  7. Appropriateness of evaluation devices;
  8. Appropriateness of teaching methodology;
  9. Student achievement, based on performance on assessment; and
  10. Support of departmental educational efforts.

The revised Higher Education Standards Framework (2015) from January 1st 2017 requires all higher education institutions to undertake external referencing and/or peer review of all aspects of academic programs, from approval to curriculum design to delivery, to assure that quality and standards are being upheld.

To learn more about the Peer Review approach recommended for the Faculty of Arts, visit

How can I use Peer Review in the classroom?

The Learning Design and Production Team has a guide dedicated to developing Peer Review activities and assessment for the classroom! It can be found here.

Contact the Faculty of Arts LD&P team  to learn more, ask how you can employ Peer Review in your unit, and begin to empower your students with these critical skills.