Peer Observation of Teaching

Peer Review of Teaching

Peer Review of Teaching often identified as “peer observation of teaching” or “peer evaluation of teaching” refers not only to actual classroom observation, but also includes other activities related to assessment of teaching: syllabi, assignments, material selection, student work, and/or use of class time.

What is Peer Review of Teaching?

Peer Review of Teaching aims to engage faculty in documenting, assessing, and improving student learning and performance via extensive analysis and reflection on course development, instructional strategies, classroom activities, and students’ work (University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2017).

Components of peer review of teaching:

  • Evaluation and feedback on course design and assessment practices
  • Classroom observations
  • Documentation of teaching philosophy
  • Effectiveness in advising or mentoring
  • End of course student evaluations
  • Student input from mid-course survey
  • Student feedback focus groups (conducted by observer with instructor out of room for 15-20 minutes)

What is Peer Observation of Teaching?

Peer observation is a developmental and supportive process of observing others to help improve the quality of teaching (Hendry & Oliver, 2012). For many educators, the prospect of Peer Observation of Teaching (PoT) can create anxiety (Richardson, 2000; Robinson, 2010). It does not have to be this way if it is done in a supportive atmosphere where the idea is not to scrutinize your work, but to contribute to a collegial academic culture. Peer observation is a great opportunity to learn from one another and for professional growth.

Models of PoT

There are three differing models of PoT currently employed (Gosling, 2002).

           The evaluation model

 Senior staff observe other staff and make judgment which feed into the observee’s subsequent promotion process.

           The development model

Educational developers or expert teachers observe others, the findings from which lead to recommendations for improvement and inform an action plan.

           The peer review model

Teachers observe each other, discuss and mutually reflect in a non-judgmental environment. The value of the observation is stressed for both parties involved.

Why should faculty participate in Peer Observation?

  1. It allows teachers to learn from a wide variety of teaching models.
  2. It fosters a sense of career-long learning.
  3. It promotes conversations on teaching.
  4. It fosters networking and academic collegiality.
  5. Document your instructional development.
  6. Develop reflective teaching practices that can lead to improve teaching.
  7. It is a source of dossier documentation for evaluation (Promotion & Tenure), awards (ROTA).

The Certificate in Peer Review of Teaching (CPRT) is coming soon. The purpose of the program is to help faculty members improve their peer review and teaching skills. For questions on the certificate, please email the Center for Teaching Excellence at


Hendry, G.F., & Oliver, G.R. (2012). Seeing is believing: The benefits of peer observation. Journal of University Teaching & Learning Practice, 9(1), 1-9.

Fernandez, Ch. & You, J. (2007). Peer Review of Teaching. The Journal of Chiropractic Education 21(2), 154-161.

Indiana University South East (2013). Peer review of teaching: A manual for peer review at IU Southeast. Retrieved from

University of Nebraska-Lincoln (2017). Peer Review of Teaching Project. Retrieved from

 Richardson, M. (2000). Peer observation: Learning from one another. Thoughts & Action, 16(1).


UTRGV Guidelines for Faculty Peer Observation of Teaching

This document provides the minimum requirements for the peer observation process to be used by departments in developing their own procedures for peer observation.

Model Policy Faculty Peer Observation of Teaching, UT System

The University of Texas Faculty Advisory Council endorses the following model policy for Peer Observation of Teaching and recommends it for adoption at all UT System campuses.