Case Title: 1. Rethinking Grading Part 1

Element Title: Why Become a Peer Observer? ( of 16)

 Why become a peer observer? 

 Dr. Amanda Ellis welcomes you to the peer observation process.

 Dr. Amanda Ellis, Associate Commissioner, Office of Teaching and Learning

Read what Sarah Fish, peer observer, has to say about her experience: 

 "I’m ... putting into practice all that I have learned through my observations. This hands-on learning has been more beneficial than my graduate programs and professional development put together. I’ve been able to work alongside other educators and have real and honest conversations about what constitutes good teaching. Good teaching is not a formula; it is not cookie cutter. It is hard. It is rewarding. And good teaching—effective teaching—looks different in every classroom." 

Fish, Sarah. (2012, Jul 6). What I Learned about Teaching from Observing My Peers [web log post]. Retrieved from


Perceptions of peer observation:

Statistics reveal that there is a need for deeper professional learning regarding the integrated use of peer observation.

In the Measure to Learn and Improve survey (February 2015),

  • 48% of Kentucky teacher respondents reported that they were observed by another teacher in their own classrooms “about once per semester or less”.  
  • 38% reported that they “never” observed another teacher’s classroom to get ideas for their own instruction or to offer feedback.
  • 8% of Kentucky teachers report they “made major changes” to the way they planned or taught, it is clear that teachers need additional implementation support

While the data above reveal a strong need for intentional structures and systems of support for peer observation, many examples exist where peer observation is being used as a valuable professional learning experience.

Teachers who have engaged in peer observation practices grounded in using the process as a tool for growth and improvement have evidence to support the power of peer observation to enhance practice and increase student learning.