Collegial Peer Review Scheme

Professional curriculum conversations among individuals and teams

There are many aspects of teaching and curriculum practice that could be reviewed with your peers. Western has long engaged in Collegial Peer Review of Teaching, as illustrated in the Learning Showcase late 2018 (opens in a new window). Now, this diverse activity will not only be actively encouraged, facilitated, recorded and recognised, but also applied to emerging 21C curriculum-related practices.

How do you make sense of this complex landscape of activity? What form of collegial peer review might be relevant to you? To assist, here are six questions that can help you to identify or construct a model of collegial peer review for your practice.

Step 1: Why review? (purpose)

  • Evidence to gain recognition for quality enhancement, or
  • Evidence to provide quality assurance, or
  • Evidence to shape development

Step 2: What to review? (focus)

Initially Western is focusing on the following major activities that are key to the curriculum cycle:

  • Curriculum design (MakerSpaces)
  • Teaching practice (multiple environments)
  • Assessment moderation (pre and post)
  • Curriculum review, based on data (including SFU, SFT…)
  • Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

Step 3: Who is involved? (finding a reviewer/s)

Your purpose and focus might suggest:

  • Individual review.
  • Team review.
  • Individual review in relation to a team.
  • Team in relation to another team.

This will determine if you are seeking an individual reviewer, or a team with which to ‘benchmark’.

Step 4: How involved? (setting expectations of engagement)

With your reviewer/reviewers:

  • Identify whether you want to review against an established standard, another group, or negotiate a set of criteria to suit your development needs.
  • Discuss what shapes you/your team’s view of practice, so you can identify the most relevant criteria for the review.
  • Unpack assumptions about those criteria so you and the reviewer/s develop more of a shared understanding prior to review.
  • Regardless of the informal nature of the review, document what you are doing in a way that will allow you to reflect on the interaction at a later stage, as well as evidence an aspect of your ongoing professional learning.

Step 5: What’s the review output? (form of documentation)

As evidence is generated for multiple purposes, for both the reviewee/s and reviewer/s:

  • Record your engagement with the process in a relevant way (for example in PDP for development, in course documentation for quality assurance, in your portfolio for future recognition).
  • Compile any relevant documentation. What all parties do with the feedback or documentation, the extent of its formality, and who sees it will depend on all the decisions you made in steps 1-4.

Step 6: What are the review implications? (de-brief, reflection and plan for further action)

Implications arise for all parties:

  • Revisit the relationship expectations.
  • Share review feedback in a way that identifies potential plans for future action, or other areas of future focus.
  • Reflect on what has been learned, noting future action plans in the relevant system or individual/team portfolio.

Example (Team Review):

Step 1 Purpose: evidence for recognition. This might be a team going for collective recognition.
Step 2 Focus: curriculum development. Example: the team is involved in a MakerSpace.
Step 3 Who: as the review is for individuals in a team, all team members are reviewer and reviewee. The team wants to do a collective self-review of combined achievements, coupled with individual feedback to all team members.
Step 4 How: the team identifies a target/standard and reaches consensus on the meaning behind the most vital criteria. It also identifies the range of individual contributions/roles. This allows the team to develop a shared language for its process and outcomes, along with awareness of critical roles that are key to sustainability.
Step 5 Review output: The team compiles evidence to validate its expression of achievement and notes unique strengths of each team member’s contributions (agreed in step 4). The team discussion is facilitated by non-team member; individual member comments are anonymously gathered online or by third party.
Step 6 Implications: The team conducts a collective de-brief on what each individual has learned about the team (multiple perspectives), and how to express the strengths of individual members. They plan their recognition application and identify further evidence of long-term impact they will collect. The team are ready to develop a team application for recognition and can clearly express the nature of individual contributions.

As other models emerge through pilot projects, and are refined, they will be shared here, along with names of colleagues who have developed particular reviewer capabilities.
For further information on Collegial Peer Review of Teaching and Curriculum, or expressions of interest in developing a new model to suit your needs, please contact