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Peer Review

What is peer review?
What is formative review?
What is summative review?

What is peer review?

Peer review, also known as peer assessment or peer evaluation, refers to informed feedback given by colleagues about an instructor’s teaching. It is used to foster improvement or to make personnel decisions.

As stated on the University’s Center for Teaching and Learning Web site: Peer review of teaching is a form of evaluation designed to provide feedback to instructors about teaching and learning in their courses. Peer review may be used either as a way to help instructors improve teaching and learning in their courses, known as a formative review, or it may be part of a formal reward system used in tenure and pay decisions, known as a summative review.

In general, peer review is a collaborative process in which the instructor under review works closely with a colleague or group of colleagues to discuss his or her teaching. The format of a peer review varies depending on its purpose. In some cases, colleagues may evaluate and discuss teaching materials and curricula, or they may visit a class session to observe the teacher in action.

The peer review process yields important information that can be combined with other sources to provide a comprehensive view of an individual’s teaching. Other materials that can be used in concert with peer review are student evaluations, administrator assessments, feedback on student work, or self-assessment documentation such as a teaching portfolio.

The University has adopted a formal policy on the evaluation of teaching, which includes peer review. To read the senate policy, visit the University Senate Policy and Protocol on the Student Rating and Peer Evaluation of Teaching.

What is formative review?

Formative review, also referred to as formative evaluation, is used to improve teaching. Formative review is intended for personal, not public, use. Data from this informal, non-judgmental, and ongoing review process can come from systematic data collection, and/or students, colleagues, and administrators, as well as from self-reflection.

What is summative review?

Summative review, also referred to as summative evaluation, is used to make personnel decisions that typically reward instructors through promotion or tenure. Summative review is open to public review. The data collected is general and comparative; it is not detailed to improve teaching. It usually includes quantitative information such as ratings, letters from reviewers, etc.

Both students and peers may be asked for summative information. Students are often good judges of day-to-day teaching behavior and attitudes in the classroom, whereas colleagues are good at judging the accuracy of course content, use of acceptable teaching strategies, instructional materials and methods, assessment and grading practices, professional and ethical behavior, and thesis supervision.



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