Peer assessment

21 March 2013
1. What is Peer Assessment?
 Peer assessment of teaching in universities involves
academic colleagues giving and receiving feedback on their
teaching practices (Harris et al. 2008).
Peer assessment is a process that provides feedback to
lecturers on teaching and learning.
Lecture observation by a peer within the same
Peer assessment of teaching should be an objective
assessment of a colleague’s teaching by a fellow colleague.
It can be highly sensitive as it has a bearing on tenure,
promotion or bonus
2. Who is a Peer Assessor?
Oxford Dictionary of Current English (3rd edition):
A peer is “a person of the same age, status, or ability as
another specified person”.
 In academic circles, your peer is your equal, your
contemporary or your fellow academics. In short, a
peer is another academic in the same teaching
department as you.
3. Attributes of a Peer Assessor
 a level of teaching expertise and judgement;
 a commitment to maintain confidentiality;
 sensitivity to the different contexts and career needs of
 the ability to maintain an open and friendly approach,
focussed on the other person’s needs rather than their
own expertise; and
 the ability to give honest feedback in constructive and
positive ways.
4. Why Peer Assessment?
 1. Has the enhancement of teaching and learning as its
primary purpose.
 2. Is a fundamental tool for the evaluation and
development of teaching, complementing feedback
collected from students.
 3. Recognises university teachers’ shared professional
responsibilities for monitoring and enhancing the quality
of teaching and learning.
 4. Acknowledges and capitalises on the educative expertise
and judgement of university teachers in their fields.
 5. Provides feedback that affirms good practice as well as
suggests areas in which development might be helpful.
(Lees et al. 2008)
5. Benefits of Peer Assessment
• Feedback on teaching for developmental purposes;
• Evidence for use in promotion and/or tenure;
• Affirmation of good teaching practice;
• Broader knowledge of the curriculum being taught by
• Insights into how colleagues teach and ideas for
teaching e.g. innovative teaching methods;
•Opportunities to develop skills in teaching.
5. Benefits of Peer Assessment
 Observing someone else’s teaching can provide you
with the opportunity to reflect on your own teaching
and your role in the teaching-learning process.
 It can afford you the opportunity to improve your own
teaching after observing how others do it.
6. Concerns of Staff to Peer
 It is not easy to have your colleague come and observe
your lecture
Fear that peer assessment may be a judgement of their
teaching which may have negative implications for
their tenure/promotion or general standing in their
Subjectivity – need for honesty
Centralist tendency – fear to give divergent thoughts
Organizational culture
7. Prerequisites for Effective Peer
For peer assessment to be effective there is need for:
 an objective and constructive approach
 professionalism
 trust
 sensitivity to the reviewed
 collegiality
 confidentiality by the reviewer as well as the
departmental Chairperson and Dean.
8. Processes of Peer Assessment
Observing teaching
Should be informed by criteria that encompass what
constitutes good teaching practice, e.g.
o Approaches to teaching that influence, motivate and
inspire students to learn
o Development of curricula and resources that reflect a
command of the field
o Respect and support for the development of students as
ii. Writing feedback
iii. Giving and receiving verbal and written feedback
9. The Feedback Process – For the
 Central to effective feedback is a focus on the reviewee’s
professional development.
Give feedback as soon as possible
Feedback must be confidential
Focus on the behavior/teaching of the person and not on
the person
Be specific
Be aware of the balance between positive and negative
feedback; focus on the positive aspects first
Give the assessee an opportunity to say something about
their lecture
9. The Feedback Process – For the
 The information from the assessor is for your benefit -
take it in a positive way - avoid being defensive or
offended by the assessor’s comments.
10. Points to Ponder for the
 What aspects of my teaching do I need to improve?
 What do I need to do to improve on this aspect?
 Who might be able to assist me?
 How will I know that I have improved?
11. Conclusion
 The spirit of the peer assessment should be
 That is to say, the purpose of the peer assessment
process is to assist in the improvement of teaching and

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