Peer Teaching Evaluations

Peer Teaching Evaluations, UA Geosciences Departmental Policies/Procedures

You may also refer to a PDF of the following information here.

Peer Teaching Evaluations are required for inclusion in a Teaching Portfolio for reviews, promotion, and tenure decisions for each faculty member. These policies are intended to help new faculty build a useful portfolio, as well as provide feedback on and opportunities to improve teaching effectiveness. New faculty have a semester to pick an individual in the department (a Teaching Mentor), in consultation with the Department Head, who will take charge of peer teaching evaluations for them, either by doing the evaluations his/herself, or by arranging for another individual to do them (or both).

Faculty will be evaluated at least twice, in two separate courses, preferably a grad and undergrad course, for a total of four evaluations. Each evaluation will consist of:
• Pre-Observation (faculty and observer can discuss desired learning outcomes)
• In-class observation (we agreed on 20 suggested criteria; see below)
• Post-Observation (faculty and observer can discuss the evaluation)

The evaluator will also write a letter, addressed to the Department Head, explaining the evaluation outcomes, to accompany the faculty member's Teaching Portfolio in the package submitted for review or promotion.
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 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 have improved 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 have improved student assessment?

Evaluated faculty members will be provided with a copy of the letter including in the Teaching Portfolio, and, if desired, can prepare a response for inclusion in the Portfolio.

For an Assistant Professor, these evaluations will take place in the year before the third-year review, and before the promotion to Associate Professor. Other promotion and review cases (e.g., from Associate to Full Professor) will also be supported by peer teaching evaluations done in the year before the review. It is the responsibility of the faculty up for promotion as well as the teaching mentor to ensure that these evaluations are done on time and in a conscientious way that provides adequate demonstration of teaching effectiveness for review and tenure decisions.

Each evaluation will focus on elements related to issues discussed in and listed there as the “Classroom Observation Tool.” A provisional list of 20 criteria has been adopted by our Department as a starting point (see below), but the faculty and mentor are welcome to modify this list as they feel best serves the needs of the faculty and the review process.
Template for GEOS Peer Teaching Evaluations (Classroom observations):

Lesson Organization
1. Summarized major points of lesson.
4. Presented topics in a logical sequence.
5. Paced lesson appropriately.
Content Knowledge & Relevance
17. Included material related to the learning outcomes of the lesson.
21. Demonstrated command of the subject matter.
22. Shared current developments in the discipline.

30. Spoke extemporaneously, did not read continually from notes.
32. Noticed & listened to student questions & comments.
34. Defined unfamiliar terms, concepts, and principles.
37. Restated important ideas at appropriate times.
38. Varied explanations or demonstrations for complex and difficult material.
Instructor-Student Interactions
43. Maintained students’ attention.
Collaborative Learning Activities
49. Provided group tasks that were related to the lesson’s learning outcomes.
53. Responded appropriately to non-engaged students.

Lesson Implementation
56. Encouraged student questions.
62. Gave satisfactory answers to student questions.
66. Promoted conceptual understanding of the lesson’s topics.
Instructional Materials
74. Prepared students for the lesson with appropriate readings.
77. Presented helpful audio-visual materials to support lesson organization & major points.

Student Responses
81. Most students were engaged in the lesson throughout the class time.

Additionally, please address:
1. What do you think the students learned from this lesson?

2. What were the instructor’s major strengths as demonstrated in this class session?

3. What suggestions do you have for improving this instructor’s teaching?

Classroom Observation Tool

Faculty, Teaching Mentors, and Peer Evaluators are welcome to make use of the Classroom Observation Tool(s) provided by the Office of Instructional Assessment (OIA). The Department of Geosciences has prepared a template for this purpose, which may be used directly or modified to suit the needs and objectives of the faculty, mentor, and evaluator(s).
To find the Classroom Observation Tool:

1: Go to and click "Observation Tool"
2: If you are not already logged in via WebAuth, then login, using the little link in the upper right corner of page
3: Select "Use Departmental Template"
4: To identify the department, select College of Science, then SEES, then Geosciences
5: The only available template right now is listed as "Standard Criteria"
6: Expand the "Observation Form" section by clicking on the "+" sign, fill in the boxes, and hit submit, then print out your form or use the version that is emailed to you.

To modify this template, at step 3 above, choose "Customize Tool" instead and follow the instructions (including go through the "Categories" to select your rubrics). Then fill out the Observation Form section, submit, and print/retrieve by email as above.