Research Output
‘Observation has set in’: comparing students and peers as reviewers of teaching
  Peer review is a powerful method to enhance teaching in higher education. Peers, however, may not be the most relevant people in evaluating teaching success; as the most important stakeholders in learning, students’ evaluations need to be heard. Whilst some efforts to capture ‘the student voice’ are simplistic and may foster consumerist approaches, adopting ‘radical collegiality’ towards students may provide the benefits of peer review whilst avoiding some of its disadvantages. Here we describe the Students as Colleagues project, which trained student volunteers as evaluators of teaching. To assess the ability of students to provide useful reviews, we compared their evaluative feedback with that from academic peers, using a paired design and qualitative and quantitative data. Students gave significantly more positive comments, and just as many negative and directive comments, as academic peers. Student colleagues emphasised the positive personal (rather than professional) capacities of their reviewees, encouraged expressed vulnerability and drew on their broad experiences as students rather than from professional perspectives. Participation changed how students saw their abilities and helped ‘humanise’ both the reviewees and the university as a whole. Our results and standpoint theory suggest that students’ evaluative feedback is the most valuable perspective to inform teaching enhancement.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    14 July 2016

  • Publication Status:


  • Publisher

    Taylor & Francis

  • DOI:


  • Cross Ref:


  • ISSN:


  • Library of Congress:

    LB2300 Higher Education

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    378 Higher education

  • Funders:

    Edinburgh Napier University


Huxham, M., Scoles, J., Green, U., Purves, S., Welsh, Z., & Gray, A. (2017). ‘Observation has set in’: comparing students and peers as reviewers of teaching. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 42(6), 887-899.



Teaching, reviewers, students, peers,

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