Peer Review

Purpose: Peer review fosters a continuous learning culture, development and sharing of best practices in teaching, and is consistent with professional accountability and self-regulation associated with the practice of nursing.

The School of Nursing (SoN) recognizes and values the following principles of peer review:

  • Generally, a peer is someone of the same rank or expertise. However, reviewers of different rank and expertise can also be requested.
  • Peer review is teaching and/or practice focused.
  • Peer review is an opportunity to learn from others’ experience.
  • Feedback is timely and not anonymous.
  • Feedback incorporates the instructor/faculty members’ developmental stage in teaching and/or practice.
  • Feedback promotes high standards.
  • Peer review feedback is put into action.


  • It is recommended that instructors and faculty participate in peer review of didactic and/or clinical courses annually.
  • Peer review is mandatory for all instructors and faculty new to didactic and/or clinical teaching or new to the SoN.
  • Instructors or faculty members can request peer review at any time, particularly if course assignments change.
  • Instructors and faculty reserve the option to include or exclude peer review feedback with their annual review.
  • Refer to the Peer Review Policy for additional information.


RAD: March 2018, SNO Approved: May 2018


Peer Review is coordinated through the RAD Committee. Information, peer review documents, and sign up forms (Google forms link) are posted on the SoN Excellence in Teaching and Learning Sakai site under the Peer Review tab found in the Table of Contents menu. A call for peer reviewers and those faculty who would like to participate in the peer review process will be posted each semester. Established deadlines for the Academic Year will be posted by the RAD Chair to the SoN Excellence in Teaching and Learning Sakai site under the Peer Review tab found in the Table of Contents menu.


How to assess teaching practices?

In many institutions, inventories of teaching practices are combined with assumptions about what is conducive to student learning. It is important for the peer reviewers and the administrators who guide them to be conscious of what they regard as effective teaching and the appropriate evidence for it before committing to an observation process, lest the peer review gather invalid or unreliable data, and lest the process invite peer biases and unexamined pedagogy into the evaluation. A reasonably representative list of teaching practices, along with more or less explicit value for learning, would include the following:

Content knowledge

  • Selection of class content worth knowing and appropriate to the course
  • Provided appropriate context and background
  • Mastery of class content
  • Citation of relevant scholarship
  • Presented divergent viewpoints

Clear and effective class organization

  • Clear statement of learning goals
  • Relationship of lesson to course goals, and past and future lessons
  • Logical sequence
  • Appropriate pace for student understanding
  • Summary

Varied methods for engagement, which may include…

  • In-class writing
  • Analysis of quotes, video, artifacts
  • Group discussions
  • Student-led discussions
  • Debates
  • Case studies
  • Concept maps
  • Book clubs
  • Role plays
  • Poster sessions
  • Think aloud problem solving
  • Jigsaws
  • Field trips
  • Learning logs, journals
  • Critical incident questionnaire (see Brookfield’s discussion)


  • Project voice
  • Varied intonation
  • Clarity of explanation
  • Eye contact
  • Listened effectively
  • Defined difficult terms, concepts, principles
  • Use of examples
  • Varied explanations for difficult material
  • Used humor appropriately

Teacher-Student Interactions

  • Effective questioning
  • Warm and welcoming rapport
  • Use of student names
  • Encouraging of questions
  • Encouraging of discussion
  • Engaged student attention
  • Answered students effectively
  • Responsive to student communications
  • Pacing appropriate for student level, activity
  • Restating questions, comments
  • Suggestion of further questions, resources
  • Concern for individual student needs
  • Emotional awareness of student interests, needs

Appropriateness of instructional materials

  • Content that matches course goals
  • Content that is rigorous, challenging
  • Content that is appropriate to student experience, knowledge
  • Adequate preparation required
  • Handouts and other materials are thorough and facilitated learning
  • Audio/visual materials effective
  • Written assignments

Student engagement

  • Student interest
  • Enthusiasm
  • Participation
  • Student-to-student interaction

Support of departmental/program/school instructional efforts

  • Appropriate content
  • Appropriate pedagogy
  • Appropriate practice

In-class, formative assessment practices

  • Background knowledge probes, muddiest point exercises, defining features matrix and other “classroom assessment techniques” described in greater detail here
  • Ungraded in-class writing exercises, such as minute papers
  • Discussions
  • Questioning

Out-of-class, summative assessment practices

  • Class participation
  • In-class writing exercises, graded
  • Presentations
  • Examinations
  • Projects

Evidence of Student Learning

End-of-course student work: To more thoroughly assess the effectiveness of instruction, peer reviewers may collect evidence of student learning in the form of examinations, written assignments, and other projects from the course of the teacher under review. Collecting this evidence may be helpful in assessing core competencies expected from the course.

Student work throughout the course: Evidence of student learning may be more thoroughly assessed by collecting examples of student work at various times during a course so as to gain perspective on student growth and development. To do this requires some preparation and lead-time to ensure the teacher under review is sure to collect work from students and gain their consent for sharing it.

Grades: Student grades also may be used as an indicator of student performance, if they are accompanied by contextual information such as a grade distribution, the criteria used to assign those grades, and samples of student work at A, B, C, D, and failing levels.


Peer Review Forms

The peer review forms are available as Word documents for faculty to print off for their reviewer to complete. There are two options available for use. Faculty will choose one peer review form.


Peer Review Calendar

Peer Review Form Option 1

Peer Review Form Option 2