Peer-assessment ability of trainees in clinical restorative dentistry: can it be fostered?

BDJ Open. 2022 Aug 1;8(1):22. doi: 10.1038/s41405-022-00116-6.


Objectives: The study was conducted to investigate whether peer-assessment among dental students at the clinical stage can be fostered and become closer to that of experienced faculty assessors.

Methods: A prospective pilot study was conducted in 2021 at the Faculty of Dentistry, Damascus University. Sixteen 5th year clinical students volunteered to participate in the study. A modified version of the validated Peer Direct Observation of Procedural Skills (Peer-DOPS) assessment form was used together with a grading rubric. Participants undertook peer-assessment on their colleagues across three encounters. The difference between peers and faculty assessment was the main variable.

Results: The mean difference between peers and faculty assessment decreased after each encounter with a significant difference and a medium effect size between the first and third encounters (p = 0.016, d = 0.67). Peer-assessment was significantly higher than faculty, however, the overestimation declined with each encounter reducing the difference between peer- and faculty assessment. Peers' perception of the educational benefit of conducting assessment was overwhelmingly positive, reporting improvements in their own performance.

Conclusion: This pilot study provides preliminary evidence that dental students assessment ability of their peers can be fostered and become closer to that of experienced faculty assessment with practice and assessment-specific instruction.