Get involved: Peer Review at Macquarie

Macquarie University encourages peer review of teaching as a professional development activity that benefits both the reviewee and the reviewer, and ultimately our students.  

Macquarie staff recently attended a workshop on Peer Review of Assessment Workshop facilitated by Higher Ed Services (HES) and the University of Tasmania. We learned about external referencing, benchmarking, consensus moderation, practical ways of facilitating peer review, its value and challenges across various disciplines and institutions. See our Twitter notes on the day.

The workshop addressed important questions such as:

  • How do you know that your marking standards are appropriate and consistent with others of comparable expertise?
  • How do you know what the tasks you set for students are “appropriate”?

Peer review of teaching can take many different forms, of which classroom observation is probably the most well-known one. Check the PEER Review website for more information and helpful resources, or read previous posts.

The revised Higher Education Standards Framework (2015) from January 1st 2017 requires all higher education institutions to undertake external referencing and/or peer review of all aspects of academic programs, from approval to curriculum design to delivery, to assure that quality and standards are being upheld. In particular, peer review of assessment inputs (specifications and standards) and outputs (student submissions and achievement) plays a key role in assuring quality and maintaining standards within and between institutions.

Part of the workshop was a demonstration of a national Peer Review Portal, an easy-to-use online tool, to support peer review of assessment, curriculum review, course and professional accreditation, launched earlier this year. So far, 50 higher education institutions are already preconfigured in the Portal including Macquarie. However, we realise that Macquarie needs to develop a peer review framework including a set of agreed practices, references, processes and a systematic embedding of those. This conversation needs to include casual staff as they carry a lot of the teaching and marking load.

 We are calling for all Macquarie academic and professional staff who are interested to form a user group with the aim of building capability with using the Peer Review Portal and ultimately build a cross-faculty community of practice.

Please contact Cathy Rytmeister if you would like to get involved, keep in touch with matters related to peer review at Macquarie, and join Macquarie’s user group.

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