Peer Reviews

Peer reviews can be incorporated into some of the other assessment techniques in this section, for example some of the evidence in a keeper’s portfolio may come from peer review or it may be used to monitor a professional development plan. A peer review is where a colleague with a similar job role is asked to review one of their peers perform a particular task. It is often used in academia to assess whether a paper is fit for publication, but it can also be used for practical tasks.

Peer review can be useful for both the person being reviewed and the person conducting the review. This is because watching someone else closely can lead to the person observing picking up ideas on how to do the task (or how not to do it) themselves. The person being observed can also get useful feedback on how they are doing, where they are doing well and where they can improve. It is also necessary for both parties to reflect on how the task can be done most effectively so can help to define standards. It should be a positive and supportive experience and rather than focusing on negative criticism of how a person completes a task.

Usually a specific form is used that outlines the key areas that are being observed. This helps to ensure the review does not become too general.

When conducting a peer review it is important to consider:

  • What exactly the peer review is focusing on. Usually a peer review focuses on a particular task and not on how someone does their job more generally. For example, it is often used by educators to check their delivery style so may be appropriate to assess the delivering keeper talks competency.
  • The review should be structured and not be too personal. It should focus on the task and not on the person. The reviewer should be specific in their feedback. For example it is more useful to note down how long a keeper took to do a particular task than to tell them they did it too quickly or too fast. Or, if talking about a keeper’s presentation skills, say ‘you did not smile at the beginning’ rather than ‘you are not very friendly’.
  • Decide beforehand what you think good practice looks like. How exactly should the task be completed. This might mean referring back to written standards or could be agreed in discussion either between the person being observed and the person doing the review or with the section manager.

You can download a template for a peer review here.