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Title: Peer-assessment within dental education
Author: Tricio-Pesce, Jorge
ISNI:       0000 0004 5368 2578
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2014
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Background: Formative assessment with its feedback component has a powerful effect on students’ learning. Aim: This research aimed to appraise how teaching and assessment practices were organised in dental undergraduate teaching institutions to inform the development and piloting of a novel peer-assessment protocol for undergraduate dental students’ pre-clinical competence and clinical performance. Subsequently, the protocol’s utility as a framework for immediate dialogic peer-feedback to boost students’ academic learning and achievement outcomes as well as their reflective skills, was evaluated. Materials and methods: An initial review of the literature on peer-assessment together with a scrutiny of the King’s College London Dental Institute undergraduate curriculum and assessment practices of 39 selected international dental teaching institutions was undertaken. This underpinned the development of a novel longitudinal, formative and structured peer-assessment protocol based on traditional Workplace-Based Assessment forms to be used as a framework for immediate peer-feedback and self-reflection. Subsequently, the protocol was piloted and later implemented in a larger trained sample to judge its utility towards fostering students’ academic achievements and reflective skills. Thus, following a baseline quantitative reflection skills evaluation, volunteer students assessed their peers’ pre-clinical competence (BDS year-2) and clinical performance (BDS year-5) across the whole academic year. Students’ previous end-of-year examination and baseline reflection skills scores from the study and control groups (those who did and did not exercise the peer-assessment protocol, respectively) were compared to their current end-of-year examination marks and a second reflection skills evaluation score. Students’ feedback narratives and their reasons to participate or not in the peer-assessment protocol, were also analysed. Results and Discussion: Peer-assessment was only used by 19% of the surveyed dental schools. Both pre-clinical and clinical peer-assessment participating students demonstrated a reliable ability to identify those domains where they performed better as well as those which needed improvement. They also detected progress over time. Additionally, students’ peer-assessment scores were positively correlated to their end-of-year examination. Inasmuch as students exercised ten or more peer-assessment encounters, they significantly increased their higher order thinking skills and final examination scores. Peer-feedback narratives from pre-clinical and clinical students differed in their content and sign, but corresponded in their specificity. Previous negative feedback experiences played a notable role in students deciding whether to participate or not. Conclusions: Longitudinal (≥10 encounters), formative and structured peer-assessment and peer-feedback to encourage self-reflection of undergraduate dental students’ pre-clinical and clinical skills, can reliably help them to improve their academic achievement and develop higher order thinking skills.
Supervisor: Dewey, Michael Edward ; Woolford, Mark John Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available