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Peer Review Standards for Chemistry

The following information is provided for users and authors of MERLOT-Chemistry materials to help them better understand both the criteria used to evaluate items in the database and the Peer Reviews.  The goal for MERLOT-Chemistry Peer Reviews is to provide information for users on the best material in the Chemistry database and the requirements for author development of premium materials for MERLOT.

The following information is also provided to new reviewers to advise them of the evaluation standards to be used in the MERLOT Peer Review process of chemistry materials. 


There are three general categories of evaluation standards within MERLOT-Chemistry:


                        1.         Ease of Use.

                        2.         Quality of Content.

                        3.         Effectiveness as a Teaching-Learning Tool.

These three categories are interdependent to some degree, but separate ratings are given for each. Specific evaluation criteria are applied within each category.  Some criteria are applicable to several categories.  Such criteria appear in the one most relevant category to avoid replication of ratings across categories.



A. Clear and accurate instructions for use.

  • Use of site is evident or provided via clearly stated information

B. The site has a clear and consistent layout.

  • Labels, buttons, menus, text, and other user interface elements are consistent and intuitive to use.
  • Module format and/or material is organized in a logical or intuitive manner.

C. The software is easy to navigate.

  • The software is easy to enter, navigate and exit from.
  • The user is not likely to get diverted or trapped while navigating the software.
  • Animations/ Simulations are user controllable.

D. The software is robust.

  • Pages or applications load quickly.
  • Ordinary use will not cause the system to crash.

E.  The site is in working order.

  • No defective links.
  • No major bugs in the site.


A. Concepts, models and results are valid.

  • Textual content is accurate and current.
  • Trends are correct for qualitative content.
  • Quantitative results are correct and agree with graphics or figures

B.  Content is complete.

  • The content stays on target.
  • The content is addressed in a concise and effective manner

C.  Content is appropriate.

  • Graphics, images, figures, and/or tables are informative/effective, and appropriately labeled.
  • Text vocabulary or terminology is appropriate.
  • Numeric values are appropriately labeled with correct units.

D.    The content approach/format is appropriate to the type of item.

  • Lecture presentations are concise and effective.
  • Tutorials are interactive and engaging.
  • Animations/Simulations demonstrate a concept and are clearly understandable
  • Drill and Practice or Quiz/Test provides questions and answers.
  • Collection or Reference Material content is well laid out.
  • When applicable, graphics and images are of high quality.


A. The teaching-learning goals and consequent uses are easy to identify.

B. The item increases the potential for student learning.

  • It is engaging, interactive, and/or entertaining and provides feedback.
  • It is a learning tool (e.g. not a toy).
  • Any graphics and/or multimedia content enhance the presentation of a model/s or relationship.

C. The item promotes conceptual understanding.

  • The user is encouraged to generalize concepts/ relationships from data or observations.
  • The user is asked to make predictions based on the concept.

D. The item can be used in a variety of ways to achieve teaching and learning goals.

  • The material is flexible or reusable to the extent that the content will fit into standard chemistry curriculum.
  • Learning assignments may be created for the item.