Background Peer evaluation drives effective self-assessment, encourages autonomous learning and enhances both metacognitive skills and critical reasoning skills.1 Students, by commenting on the work of others, gain a better understanding of the criteria required for successful performance and develop skills of objective judgment which can be transferred to the assessment of their own work.2
Methodology Peer feedback was introduced to a simulated patient consultation. Miller has demonstrated that peer feedback was improved by providing students with specific prompts3. Thus a feedback grid was adapted from the RCPCH anchor statements for communication skills4. Students were required to tick the observed standard on a form detailing 7 components of effective communication. In interview students indicated that they benefited from the opportunity to engage in peer feedback. Students reported that they felt more comfortable receiving feedback from peers than providing feedback to peers.
Results 65% of students (n = 250) rated peer performance as excellent which did not correlate with summative OSCE results. When students did mark the borderline grade, a significant difference was found for one individual element of the feedback score. Students ticked "lacked confidence/fluidity" significantly more frequently than any other of the 7 elements suggesting they felt more comfortable relaying this element of performance feedback as it did not address content understanding or knowledge.
Conclusion Ability to give constructive feedback should be viewed as an essential skill but for success students need to be taught how to give effective peer feedback. Emotions and loyalties affect student’s unwillingness to find fault with a fellow student’s work. Students may need more opportunities to conduct peer assessment to become familiar and comfortable with this process. Co-operative learning in simulation can combine with peer feedback to produce effective social constructivist approaches; however faculty input is required to monitor and validate the feedback.
Ballantyne R, Hughes K, Mylonas A. Using an Action Research Process: Developing Procedures for Implementing. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education 2002;27(5)
Hulsman RL, Harmsen AB, Fabriek M. Reflective teaching of medical communication skills with DiViDU: Assessing the level of student reflection on recorded consultations with simulated patients. Patient education and counseling 2009;74(2):142–9
Miller PJ. The effect of scoring criteria specificity on peer and self-assessment. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education 2003;28(4):383–95
The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) website @ http://www.rcpch.ac.uk/training-examinations-professional-development/assessment-and-examinations/examinations/clinical-e-3
- Category: Course or curriculum evaluation/innovation/integration
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