Tuesday, 7 May 2019


WP3 European Curriculum Design TOOLKIT

Pedagogy and T+L Strategies

Pedagogy – T+L Strategies – SIX: Peer Review of a Study Programme

Each territory (even within the Bologna System) has different specifications, regulations, processes and procedures for the Peer Review of a Study Programme, for Review documentation and for the actual Review Process, but it is quite usual for each new study programme to be Peer Reviewed by a Panel of experts.

The Peer Review Panel will usually include professors from other HEIs in your country and from abroad, by student representatives and by stakeholders such as industry experts in your specific field.

A small-sized Peer Review Panel might be three people (one local academic, an international academic and a student representative) - this is a common model in Slovenia. 

Most Peer Review panels are comprised of five or six members - one or two local academics, an international academic, an industry representative and a student representative.

Some countries specify that representatives from the Ministry, from the National Higher Education Quality Assurance Agency, or from an independent QA agency or NGO shall also sit as an active member on the Review panel.

One of the Panel Members will Chair the Panel. The Chair is usually responsible for collating and writing any final Reports. Final reports usually conform to a template prepared by the local Ministry or by the local Quality Assurance agency. Often, criteria for peer review assessment are specified by the local Ministry or by the Quality Assurance agency. Sometimes, the Ministry or the Quality Assurance agency provide a short induction or training for panel members.

The Peer Review Panel usually reviews the Study Programme documentation and they visit the HEI to meet with management, the programme team, students, graduates and representatives from industry. The Review Panel ask questions, take notes and they prepare a written Report, making Observations and Recommendations about the proposed Study Programme.

Peer Review Panels usually provide some oral feedback to the Study Programme Team and Managers on the day of the review. The Panel will normally point out instances of good practice or best practice, they will point out Areas for Development or Enhancement and they will make suggestions about things that need to be clearer. In some circumstances, a Peer Review Panel may detail things which need to be changed immediately (in Ireland, these are known as ‘Conditions’). In some countries, a study programme will not be allowed to continue if a serious issue is not fixed or addressed immediately or within a specified time (weeks or months).

The Chair of the Peer Review Panel will normally collate and write a final Peer Review Panel Report. This report is usually sent to the National Agency, or the Ministry, who then pass the report onto the HEI. In some countries, Peer Review Panel Reports are quite short. In other countries, Peer Review Panel Reports are expected to be very extensive, detailed and lengthy.

The spirit of the Peer Review Process is developmental, not controlling. Peer Review Panels normally act as a Study Programme’s ‘Critical Friends’.  The Peer Review Panel is there to help the Programme Team, the students and the HEI to improve and enhance the Study Programme and the learning experience and outcomes for the students.

In very rare cases, a Peer Review will decide that a new Study Programme cannot proceed r cannot continue. It may be that more preparatory work is necessary in order to ready the new Study Programme before students commence their studies. It is normal to allow the Programme Team and the HEI to do the necessary preparatory or remedial work in a set period of time (weeks or months), before the revised study programme is submitted for Review again.

Tempus ALIGN Guidelines (from page 40 onwards) on External Peer review of Study Programmes

ALIGN - Poznan Supplement to ALIGN WP4 Draft Plan

This is a February 2016 Tempus ALIGN  Guidance document on the formation and conduct of ALIGN project peer reviews.

It is quite likely that DESTIN project peer reviews shall be conducted in a very similar manner to this.

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