Using the Protocol for Evaluation of Teaching

Using the Protocol for Evaluation of TeachingThe Peer Review of Teaching Protocol/Peer Review of Online Teaching Protocol can be used for evaluation of teaching; e.g., for annual reviews and promotion and tenure. Current UA Promotion and Tenure guidelines for both tenure- and career-track instructors include a review of teaching portfolios; evaluation of teaching is part of those portfolios.

Recommended guidelines for using the protocol for evaluation of teaching:

  • Department faculty members agree on which Classroom Observation Tool items will be used for all teaching evaluations in that department. No more than ten items is recommended; we recommend creating a departmental template
  • For review of online courses, all items on the Online Course Review Tool are scored.
  • For tenure-track reviews, reviewers are tenured faculty members. For career-track reviews, reviewers hold a higher rank than the promotion candidate.
  • Reviewers consciously strive to set aside any biases; e.g. those related to gender, ethnicity, and teaching style. Resources on unconscious bias and how faculty gender and race impact teaching experiences can guide reviewers.
  • For on-ground courses, more than one class session is observed or more than one reviewer observes different class sessions to provide a more reliable sense of the candidate’s overall teaching quality. For review of online courses, multiple reviewers of the course site or reviews at different points during the semester can provide a more reliable view of the candidate.
  • For Fall 2020 courses, the Classroom Observation Tool can be used to evaluate synchronous teaching (in any of the modalities), and the Online Course Review Tool can be used to evaluate the asynchronous aspects of an instructor's course.

  • Pre- and post-observation/review meetings are held, to prepare for and debrief classroom observations/course site reviews. These meetings can be streamlined versions of those used for formative review of teaching.
    • Pre-observation/review meeting focuses on instructor’s goals and learning outcomes for the course, what s/he asks students to do to attain the learning outcomes, and how s/he assesses students’ learning.
    • Post-observation/review meeting focuses on what aspects of the course are going well and where improvements are needed, based on class observations/course reviews.

  • After the post-observation/review meeting:
    • Reviewer(s) prepares a summary letter addressed to the department head that summarizes the candidate’s strengths and areas that need development, citing specific examples from the class observations/course site reviews. 
    • The instructor should be given a copy of the letter. This is an important step in the process, as it gives the instructor an opportunity to reflect on the peer review(s) as part of the teaching portfolio. The instructor should also be given the option of writing a response to the letter, addressed to the department head, if desired.

  • The following questions can be used as a guide for preparing the summary letter: 
    • What is the class that was observed/reviewed (level, format, content)?
    • How many class sessions were observed and how many observers collaborated on this review?
    • What were the instructor's major teaching strengths as demonstrated in this class session?
    • What suggestions do you have for improving this instructor's teaching?
    • What did the instructor do during the class sessions/in online learning activities and assessments to engage students in learning important content? How could the instructor improve student engagement?
    • What did the instructor do during the class sessions/in online learning activities and assessments to assess students’ learning of important content (informally or formally)? How could the instructor improve student assessment?

A PDF version of this information is also available.


If you have any questions about the use of the Peer Review of Teaching Protocol or would like to provide any feedback, please email Ingrid Novodvorsky.