Points of Consideration for Peer Evaluation of Teaching

“Connections are made slowly, sometimes they grow underground. You cannot tell always by looking at what is happening. More than half a tree is spread out in the soil under your feet.”  
-- Marge Piercy, "The Seven of Pentacles"

Potential 4-point Outline
1) Developing a Rationale and Understanding of Peer Review
2) Setting Up a System for Peer Review
3) Major Design Elements of a Peer Review of Teaching System
4) Roles and goals of a Peer Review System (Chism, 2007).

Peer review is helpful for education’s goal of monitoring self (Chism, 2007).

Thoughts for Consideration when conducting Peer Reviews
When considering evaluation in any area, it is helpful to consider efficiency, effectiveness, and impact.

Efficiency:  The degree to which a program or a project has been productive in relationship to its resources.

Effectiveness:  The degree to which goals have been reached

Impact:  The degree to which a program or project resulted in changes.

Pre-process preparation mode is vital in conducting helpful peer instruction of teaching so it does not become a hopeless and futile check-off form process. In this route, consideration of the following may be helpful including specific course description, instructional objectives for course, specific instructional objective for the course room observation period. The assessments used for that day may be included on an item-by-item basis.

·       Formative evaluation: An examination of a program or project in progress.
·       Summative evaluation: Evaluation conducted at the end of a program or project for funding or for corporate or other decision makers.
·       Monitoring: Assessing the extent to which a program is 1) undertaken consistently with its design or implementation plan and 2) directed at the appropriate target population

Finally, and perhaps the keys that make the evaluation most helpful to the instructor include the following:
  • What are the evaluators' questions when conducting peer evaluation of teaching? 
  • What are the teacher’s questions going into the evaluation? 
  • What is the goal of the evaluation team in making the evaluation? (Rossi and Freeman, 1993).
  • What are the more detailed follow up comments as a result of the assessment? Having a general paragraph from the person being evaluated may be helpful. Using forms for immediate reactions and then pausing the response from the evaluation in the form of a narrative when presenting to the faculty may be helpful and more useful that a simplified day in your course structure.

The integration of peer evaluation into teaching across levels and/or disciplines potentially cultivates more effective teaching, accountability, support, and student learning. 

The Seven Of Pentacles

By Marge Piercy

Under a sky the color of pea soup
she is looking at her work growing away there
actively, thickly like grapevines or pole beans
as things grow in the real world, slowly enough.
If you tend them properly, if you mulch, if you water,
if you provide birds that eat insects a home and winter food,
if the sun shines and you pick off caterpillars,
if the praying mantis comes and the ladybugs and the bees,
then the plants flourish, but at their own internal clock.

Connections are made slowly, sometimes they grow underground.
You cannot tell always by looking what is happening.
More than half the tree is spread out in the soil under your feet.
Penetrate quietly as the earthworm that blows no trumpet.
Fight persistently as the creeper that brings down the tree.
Spread like the squash plant that overruns the garden.
Gnaw in the dark and use the sun to make sugar.

Weave real connections, create real nodes, build real houses.
Live a life you can endure: Make love that is loving.
Keep tangling and interweaving and taking more in,
a thicket and bramble wilderness to the outside but to us
interconnected with rabbit runs and burrows and lairs.

Live as if you liked yourself, and it may happen:
reach out, keep reaching out, keep bringing in.
This is how we are going to live for a long time: not always,
for every gardener knows that after the digging, after
the planting,
after the long season of tending and growth, the harvest comes.