Formative Peer Review of Teaching


This page provides an overview of the Formative Peer Review of Teaching (FPRT) process that is currently being introduced at UNSW Medicine. The project is funded by a grant from the Scientia Educational Investment Fund.

What is Formative Peer Review of Teaching?

Formative peer review of teaching is an ongoing process of professional development that aims to continually develop the individual and collective quality of teaching (Bell, 2001; Gosling 2014; Harris, Bell, Farrell, Devlin & James 2008).

Formative peer review of Teaching (FPRT) is a collaborative and collegial process to support academic development. The literature suggests that FPRT processes that include supportive collegial feedback are critical to complement summative peer-review of teaching. It provides an opportunity for self-assessment against clear criteria and a chance to share practice ideas. The overall aim is to enhance student learning by enhancing the teaching process.

A key feature of the process is that it will be driven by the reviewee who will also retain ownership of the formative peer review documents. The process will be non-hierarchical and reviewers will also be expected to nominate themselves as reviewees.

The FPRT process is independent of the summative process being run by UNSW and is intended to help academics become familiar with and prepared for the summative process. In addition, the optional research component of the formative peer review project may help to develop recommendations to refine the summative process.

Project Overview

Process also available as PDF

Evidence Supporting Formative Peer Review

Recent research (Hendry & Oliver 2012) indicates that Formative Peer Review of Teaching (FPRT) enhances the quality of teaching of all those involved in the review process. However, to be effective, FPRT needs to be driven by an intrinsic motivation to self-improve, underpinned by a culture of collaboration and trust to foster critical reflection (Atkinson & Bolt 2010; Chester 2013; Hendry, Bell & Thomson 2014; Gosling 2014). A mandatory approach to FPRT is often associated with superficial or low levels of engagement (McMahon, Barrett, & O'Neill 2007). Hence a voluntary approach to FPRT is important as willing participants are actively engaged in the process and reduce the likelihood of defensiveness (Bell & Mladenovic 2008; Chester 2014; Gosling 2014).

Peer review of teaching is underpinned by a significant body of literature. Some selected work is listed in the bibliography below: 



Allinder, R. M. (1994). The Relationship Between Efficacy and the Instructional Practices of Special Education Teachers and Consultants. Teacher Education and Special Education, 17(2), 86-95.

Atkinson, D., & Bolt, S. (2012). Using teaching observations to reflect upon and improve teaching practice in higher education. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 10, 1-19.

Bandura, A. (1977). Self-efficacy: toward a unifying theory of behavioral change. Psychological review, 84(2), 191.

Bell, A., & Mladenovic, R. (2008). The benefits of peer observation of teaching for tutor development. Higher Education, 55(6), 735-752.

Bell, M. (2001). Supported reflective practice: a programme of peer observation and feedback for academic teaching development. International Journal for Academic Development, 6(1), 29-39.

Bell, M., & Cooper, P. (2013). Peer observation of teaching in university departments: A framework for implementation. International Journal for Academic Development, 18(1), 60-73.

Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative research in psychology, 3(2), 77-101.

Carroll, C., & O'Loughlin, D. (2013). Peer observation of teaching: enhancing academic engagement for new participants. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 51(4), 446-456.

Chester, A. (2012). Peer partnerships in teaching: Developing a voluntary model of professional development in tertiary education. Journal of Scholarship in Teaching and Learning, 12(2), 94-108.

Chism, N. (2007). Peer Review of Teaching: A Sourcebook (2nd ed.). Bolton MA: Anker.

Crabtree, J. L., Scott, P. J., & Kuo, F. (2016). Peer Observation and Evaluation Tool (POET): A Formative Peer Review Supporting Scholarly Teaching. The Open Journal of Occupational Therapy, 4(3), 9.

Crisp, G., Sadler, R., Krause, K., & et al. (2009). Peer review of teaching for promotion purposes: A project to develop and implement a pilot program of external peer review of teaching in four Australian universities. Sydney: ALTC.

Deemer, S. (2004). Classroom goal orientation in high school classrooms: revealing links between teacher beliefs and classroom environments. Educational Research, 46(1), 73-90.

Deloitte Access Economics. (2017, August 8). The economic contributions of Australia’s research universities – the UNSW example. Retrieved from Deloitte:

Fernandez, C. E., & Yu, J. (2007). Peer Review of Teaching. Journal of Chiropractic Education, 21(2), 154-161.

Gosling, D. (2014). Collaborative peer-supported review of teaching. In J. Sachs, & M. Parsell (Eds.), Peer Review of Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (pp. 13-31). Netherlands: Springer.

Grainger, P., Bridgstock, M., Houston, T., & Drew, S. (2015). Working in triads: A case study of a peer review process. Journal of University Teaching & Learning Practice, 12(1), 1-25.

Hammersley-Fletcher, L., & Orsmond, P. (2005). Reflecting on reflective practices within peer observation. Studies in Higher Education, 30(2), 213-224.

Harris, K., Farrell, K., Bell, M., Devlin, M., & James, R. (2008). Peer review of teaching in Australian higher education: A handbook to support institutions in developing and embedding effective policies and practices. Melbourne: Centre for the Study of Higher Education.

Hemmings, B., & Kay, R. (2009). Lecturer self efficacy: Its related dimensions and the influence of gender and qualifications. Issues in Educational Research, 19(3), 243-254.

Hendry, G. D., & Oliver, G. R. (2012). Seeing is believing: The benefits of peer observation. Journal of University Teaching & Learning Practice, 9(1), 7.

Ioannidis, J. P. (2005). Why most published research findings are false. PLoS Medicine, 2(8), e124.

Jefferson, T., Alderson, P., Wager, E., & Davidoff, F. (2002). Effects of editorial peer review: a systematic review. JAMA, 287(21), 2784-2786.

Karimi, M. N. (2011). The Effects of Professional Development Initiatives on EFL Teachers’ Degree of Self Efficacy. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 36(6), 49-62.

Kronick, D. A. (1990). Peer-review in 18th-century scientific journalism. JAMA, 263, 1321-1322.

Lomasa, L., & Nicholls, G. (2005). Enhancing teaching quality through peer review of teaching. Quality in Higher Education, 11(2), 137-149.

McKenzie, J., & Parker, N. (2011). Peer review in online and blended learning environments. Sydney: Australian Learning and Teaching Council.

McMahon, T., Barrett, T., & O'Neill, G. (2007). Using observation of teaching to improve quality: Finding your way through the muddle of competing conceptions, confusion of practice and mutually exclusive intentions. Teaching in Higher Education, 12(4), 499-511.

Skaalvik, E. M., & Skaalvik, S. (2010). Teacher self-efficacy and teacher burnout: A study of relations. Teaching and Teacher Education, 1059-1069.

Smith, R. (2006). Peer review: a flawed process at the heart of science and journals. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 99(4), 178-182.

Song, F., Parekh, S., Hooper, L., Loke, Y. K., Ryder, J., Sutton, A. J., & et al. (2010). Dissemination and publication of research findings: an updated review of related biases. Health Technology Assessment, 14(8), 1-93.

Sullivan, P., Buckle, A., Nicky, G., & Atkinson, S. (2012). Peer observation of teaching as a faculty development tool. BMC Medical Education, 12(1), 26.

Tschannen-Moran, M., Woolfolk, H. A., & Hoy, W. K. (1998). Teacher Efficacy: Its Meaning and Measure. Review or Educational Research, 68(2), 202-248.

White, K., Boehm, E., & Chester, A. (2014). Predicting academics' willingness to participate in peer review of teaching: a quantitative investigation. Higher Education Research & Development, 33(2), 372-385.

Yiend, J., Weller, S., & Kitchin, I. (2014). Peer observation of teaching: the interaction between peer review and developmental models of practice. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 38(4), 465-84.

General Enquiry

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Request a Formative Peer Review 

Thank you for your interest in formative peer review of teaching.

To schedule a review, please use the web form below. Indicate 2-3 preferred times and dates of teaching sessions you would like to have reviewed. Every effort will be made to find reviewers for one of your preferred sessions. If this is not possible, you will be contacted directly to nominate additional times and dates. If you have any problems with this form please contact Julie Crowley at:

The formative peer-review of teaching process is independent of the research project. If you would like to participate in the research component, you may request further information and a copy of the PISCF by emailing Julie Crowley at:


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Formative Peer Review of Teaching

Grant Team

  Director of Medical Education Development
  Ph 9385 1943

  Co-Director, Health Management Progams
  Ph 9385 3324

  Co-Director, International Public Health Program
  Ph 9385 8673

  Director, DrPH Program (Future Health Leaders)
  Ph 9385 9321

  Co-Director, Higher Degrees by Research Program
  Ph 9385 8317

Advisory Committee

  Senior Vice Dean (Education)
  Ph 9385 1278
  Deputy Head of School, SOMS
  Ph 9385 1676

  Medicine Program Authority
  Ph 9113 2040

  Associate Professor
  Ph 9385 8025

  Senior Lecturer
  Ph 9385 1926