Peer Appraisal of Teaching
Peer appraisal is a core part of our quality control it provides a mechanism for:
- monitoring the quality of our educational provision and performance of the instructor(s),
- professional recognition of the variation of modules in innate difficulty and presentation,
- identifying alternative approaches to delivery of material,
- the identification of good practice.
Peer Group discussion, informed by observation, provides:
- a forum for constructive discussion of alternative teaching methods,
- informed feedback to teaching staff,
- a means of the disseminating and formulating best practice, both within the group and to the department as a whole.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Peer Group Discussion
The reports will also be discussed and evaluated within the framework of the Monitoring of Modules
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.