University of Exeter Handbook (Physics) Questions/Comments Department (Physics)

Peer Appraisal of Teaching


Peer appraisal is a core part of our quality control it provides a mechanism for:

Peer Group discussion, informed by observation, provides:

The system is based on the University Guidelines:

It is desirable that the lessons learned through the Peer Appraisal process should be disseminated to all staff within the department. Taking into account that some level of confidentiality assists the Peer Appraisal process, the following procedure is to be followed. It must be emphasised that this should be a constructive exercise at all levels.


All teaching will be monitored by peer observation: staff who, for example, give only tutorials, will observe tutorials but not lectures; staff from other establishments, employed to give specialist courses, will not normally be required to observe others or participate in the group discussions.


  1. Coverage
    The aim is to ensure that each module and each member of the staff with teaching responsibilities are observed at least once during the year. The aim is to ensure coverage of all significant aspects of the curriculum (tutorials, problems classes, practicals, etc.) not just lectures. The allocation of observations will be prioritised and assigned by the Director of Education on a random basis. Reciprocal (i.e. A does B, and B does A) observation should be avoided if reasonably practical. Repeated observation (i.e. A does B two years in a row) should also be avoided.
  2. Timetable
    Observations will typically take place between weeks T1:04 and T1:08 of Term 1 and weeks T2:04 and T2:08 of Term 2 except where an aspect of teaching can only be observed outside these periods.
  3. Preparation
    The subject should contact the reviewer soon after the schedule has been circulated and agree a mutually convenient time for the observation and follow-up meeting. If timetable constraints mean that is not feasible for a particular reviewer to observe their assigned activity a swap with another colleague should be arranged.
  4. Observation
    Observations should be recorded on, and follow the protocol indicated by the report forms: This process is described in more detail in the University Guidelines: Peer Review of Teaching. Note that this scheme requires that the subject briefs the observer before the session.
  5. Feedback and Reflection
    Observers will discuss the observation report with the staff member involved. Reflections on the observations by the staff member comprise the last section of the observation report.
  6. Peer Group Discussion
    The reports will also be discussed and evaluated within the framework of the Monitoring of Modules process.
  7. Reports
    A copy of each individual observation reports must be returned to the Education Support Office in the Physics Building. They will be treated as 'reserved' documents; they will form part of the confidential records, e.g. for Programme Review and similar Quality Assurance purposes.

See also: Annual Monitoring of Programmes and Modules.

University of Exeter Handbook (Physics) Questions/Comments Department (Physics)