Peer Feedback for Individuals and Departments
Each department has a different approach to the peer observation of teaching, so this site includes a variety of some of the best resources we’ve found for conducting peer observations. Many refer directly to evidence-based teaching practices, with some being more open-ended, and others being more concrete, based on rubrics and checklists.
An important point: Given the many dimensions and holistic nature of teaching, it is challenging, if not impossible, to accurately evaluate someone’s teaching effectiveness. These tools help faculty and observers note what is happening and where improvement can occur, to foster reflection and better-directed effort rather than absolute evaluation.
CEILS Peer Observation of Teaching Guide: This document describes a structured form of peer observation, including a detailed set of open-ended questions to consider when observing faculty.
List of Observable Research-based Teaching Characteristics: This list helps peer observers provide feedback on teaching practices shown by research to support student learning, including references to research showing the link between the practice and enhanced learning. [Adapted from University of Oregon]
University of Kansas has developed a rubric for the evaluation of teaching, based on an AAU grant, which they encourage departments to modify as needed.
If implemented, we recommend introducing it first on a voluntary basis, and as a tool to foster reflection and growth rather than with high stakes.
UC Berkeley also provides a suggested protocol of pre-meeting, observation, and post-discussion (“Peer Review Form”): “Please note teaching strengths as well as provide suggestions for pedagogical improvement, whenever possible, as a supplement to evaluative comments. This form is not meant to be used as a checklist to observe and evaluate, rather it should generally frame the evaluation and serve as a starting point for identifying appropriate areas to address given the discipline, instructor teaching style and individual class session goals.”
The Center for Teaching at Vanderbilt University has a comprehensive guide on best practices for peer review of teaching. Visit this resource.
A comprehensive rubric for improving the structure and inclusive qualities of a syllabus.
This 2012 policy for their department’s Peer Review of Teaching includes very specific questions about learning goals and use of evidence-based teaching practices.
Additional Tools and Resources
UCLA’s Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST) has worked with the UCLA Center for the Advancement of Teaching; Center for Education Innovation and Learning in the Sciences; and Division of the Humanities, to develop, pilot, and refine resources that support formative faculty peer observation at UCLA
CEILS hosted a symposium at UCLA on June 12, 2018, called “Exploring Practical Ways to Inspire and Reward Teaching Effectiveness and Instructional Innovation”. The event details can be found here. Several visiting speakers, including Emily Miller, Associate Vice President for Policy at AAU, Sierra Dawson, Associate Vice Provost for Academic Affairs at the University of Oregon, and Diane O’Dowd, Vice Provost for Academic Personnel at UC Irvine, shared resources on student ratings of instruction, peer teaching observations, and self-assessment of teaching practices, among others. Many thought leaders from the UCLA community also participated as panelists, moderators, and participants throughout the day. Please explore the resources shared by our colleagues.
- Click here to access the UCLA Box folder with handouts, rubrics, guidelines, and other materials shared during the symposium. A password is required to access the Box folder. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to request the password.
- Click here to view the spreadsheet with a list of the documents and Box folder locations.
CEILS also hosted visiting Scientific Teaching Scholar Philip Stark, Professor Statistics and Associate Dean of Mathematical and Physical Sciences at UC Berkeley, who gave a talk on November 2, 2018, entitled “Student Evaluations of Teaching: Managing Bias and Increasing Utility”. Resources shared at this event can be downloaded from the event page found here; these include slides from his talk, UC Berkeley’s guide for documenting teaching effectiveness and their guide to peer review of course instruction. We encourage you to check out these and our growing list of resources.