Peer Review as a Scheme of Evaluating Faculty Performance: A CriticalPerspective

Abstract

This paper is a critical review of faculty peer evaluation (FPE) scheme adopted by a private higher education institution (PHEI) in Oman. The purpose is to identify the points of weakness in this scheme, and then to propose an alternative model of peer evaluation (PE). This model is built on the discrepancies routed in the available version of (PE), and on the different ideas proposed by scholars interested in quality assurance and faculty performance evaluation. The whole process of faculty evaluation at the (PHEI) is reviewed with due emphasis on the analysis of (FPE). Relevant literature has been surveyed where the methodology adopted, and the findings are highlighted.The points of drawbacks elicited in the current model are: (i) it is a one-dimensional version constructed on rating scale only with a complete ignorance to the criteria on which evaluation is based, (ii) it shows low degree of coverage since many important areas relevant to teaching quality are neglected, (iii) questionnaire items are inadequately and improperly arranged,and (iv)the rating resulted from this model is of a high degree of subjectivity.The suggested version is characterized by the following: (i) it is more comprehensive where five major areas relevant to faculty performance are covered; teaching, research, institution service, adherence to bylaws and regulations, and contribution to community service, (ii) It is evidence-based in that the response scale is governed by the evaluator's knowledge of the item being responded to, (iii) it is a multi-functional version since it can be used for formative, summative, and other types of faculty evaluation, (iv) it leads to more reliable and objective peer rating,and (v) it provides sufficient data that can be implemented in different evaluation areas. The paper is concluded by a number of recommendations and suggestions for further studies.