Peer review of teaching (PRT) as a quality enhancement and review process was first adopted by higher education institutions (HEIs) in the 1990s and was driven in part by Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) expectations. PRT serves two principal purposes: (i) to assure the institution and others of the provision of quality teaching and assessment, and (ii) to improve teaching and assessment through the sharing of good practice, staff support and enhancement of teaching practice.
While there are numerous definitions of PRT, it is widely accepted that PRT is a purposeful process of collaboration between academics which provides constructive feedback on the effectiveness of interventions to promote student learning. PRT is generally applied more widely than classroom-based teaching, and it encompasses all approaches used to support student learning, while peer observation of teaching (POT) is used more specifically to describe observation of formal teaching in a classroom, laboratory, workplace or fieldwork setting.
This rapid appraisal of peer review of teaching aims to examine the processes and schemes currently in operation in different disciplines across the expanded and differentiated structure of UK higher education (HE). The rapid appraisal includes a non-systematic review of the literature, a survey of UK HEIs, a review of HEI policies on PRT, and a series of short telephone interviews with key informants to identify innovative approaches to peer review.