Peer Roles

peer observation discussion

Formative evaluation is to gather information to understand strengths and weaknesses in order to improve teaching practice.

Summative evaluation is to gather evidence to inform judgements about teacher effectiveness.

Peer Roles in Formative and Summative Evaluation

Peer Observer: Peer observers are often colleagues who are involved in teacher evaluation in two related, yet distinct activities: formative and summative evaluation. The focus of formative peer observation is to improve teaching, while the focus of summative peer observation determines the teacher's effectiveness score or rating. Observations can be informal or formal depending on district needs and what is bargained collectively.

Peer Evaluator: Peer evaluators are involved in summative evaluation by contributing to the teacher's overall teacher rating or score from evidence collected during formal classroom observations.

Mentor: A mentor utilizes his/her expertise in confidential and non-evaluative roles to observe, analyze and support the induction, retention and continuous growth of teachers. In New York state, the mentor's role can be evaluative when bargained collectively.

Consulting Teacher: A consulting teacher is an expert or master teacher who observes and provides assistance to a participating teacher as part of a Peer Assistance and Review (PAR) program. Some union locals refer to the consulting teacher as a peer reviewer. PAR programs combine two distinct elements - assistance and review in teacher evaluation. Information collected by the consulting teacher is used to inform the PAR panel in making a recommendation regarding continuation or dismissal of teachers, usually a probationary teacher. The PAR program is aligned to the overall induction program, teacher evaluation system and professional development program.

Summary of Benefits, Expertise, Training and Key Considerations for Peer Roles 








Increase observations (informal and formal).

Work across the district or in one school.

Increase credibility of feedback by helping teachers understand good teaching.

Provide content specific and actionable feedback in a timely manner.

Improve classroom practices and student achievement.

Observe classroom practice as part of formative evaluation.

Align evidence to actionable feedback.

Engage in reflective dialogue with teachers based on data and evidence.

Inform teacher reflection and professional learning goals and Professional Learning Plans (PLP).

Dual code observation.

Requires evaluator training and understanding of effective" teaching, state standards and use of approved teacher practice rubric.

Ability to deliver high quality feedback and engage in coaching conversations to promote self-reflection and growth and use of videotaping and coding.

Which teachers will be served - beginning or probationary teachers, struggling teachers, and veteran teachers? 

Determine frequency and length of observations to be conducted?

Will the information be used to inform teacher evaluation?

What assurance of confidentiality will be provided to ensure trust in the process and data security? 

Peer Evaluator

Increase number & reliability of observations and performance ratings. 

Link teacher and evaluator with grade level and content/ subject area expertise.

Enhance leadership and utilize expertise.

Conduct summative observations as part of teacher evaluation. 

Collect accurate evidence to inform summative evaluation.

Determine teacher effectiveness rating.

Dual code observation.

Requires evaluator training, meeting calibration and recalibration criteria on use of approved teacher practice rubric, and use of evidence. 

Delivering effective feedback. 

Use of data and data management platform.  

Use of videotaping and coding.

What are the qualifications and selection process (letters of recommendation, interviews, and performance task) and process to determine who will be selected?

What is the length of service?

Will they be classroom teachers who rotate back into the classroom?

Will they serve full-time or part- time with release time and will you hire supplemental staff to cover release time?

Will they serve district-wide?

How will information collected be used to determine effectiveness rating?

What approach and combination (principals, peer evaluators and peer observers etc.) of evaluators will be involved?

What assurance of confidentiality will be provided to ensure trust in the process and data security? 

How and who will evaluate the peer evaluator's effectiveness? 

How will evaluators be supported in their work over time?


Support teachers' successful entry and transition into the profession by helping beginning teachers analyze both teaching practice and student learning through guided learning walkthroughs, classroom visitations and modeling, coaching and review of classroom videos.

Engage in self-reflection and dialogue based on evidence and data.

Mentor role defined as confidential and non-evaluative in regulation although information obtained through mentoring can be used for evaluative purposes when the district of BOCES has an agreement under Article 14.

Requires training in teaching standards, effective coaching and conversations that promote self-reflection and growth.

Modeling instruction.

Creating professional learning plans (PLP).

Will their role be confidential and non-evaluative or evaluative?

Will they serve full-time or part-time with release from instructional duties for time for classroom visitations, observations?

Will mentors be compensated?

Consulting Teacher

Vehicle for effective labor/management collaboration & joint decision-making.

Support from an "expert" peer who understands effective teaching.   

Build trust and increase collaboration.

Conduct classroom observations to determine teacher effectiveness and recommendation for renewal, support and dismissal.

 Support beginning and/or struggling teachers

Requires training, passing certification and interrater reliability, exam, and calibration and recalibration on use of approved teacher practice rubric.

Use of evidence and data.

Developing reports and recommendations based on evidence

What are the qualifications and selection process (letters of recommendation, interviews, and performance task) and consensus decision to determine who will be selected?

What is the caseload and which teachers will be served?
How will the PAR governing panel operate (ratio of teachers to administrators on panel, joint chairpersonship, and decisions-making process) and what will be the weight of the CT's recommendation to the Panel?

How long will CTS serve in this position and what support and professional development will be provided?

What assurance of confidentiality will be provided to ensure trust in the process and data security?  

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