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Peers as OSCE assessors for junior medical students - a review of routine use: a mixed methods study.

ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Peer-assisted learning is well established in medical education; however, peer tutors rarely act as assessors for the OSCE. In the compulsory, near-peer teaching programme covering basic medical skills at the University of Heidelberg, peer tutors serve as assessors on a formative OSCE. This study aimed to investigate the feasibility and acceptance of peer assessors and to survey the perceived advantages and disadvantages of their use. METHODS:In 2016 and 2017 all OSCE peer assessors (third to sixth-year medical students) and all of the peer-assessed students in 2017 (second-year-medical students) were invited to participate in a survey. Both groups were asked to complete a tablet-based questionnaire immediately after the OSCE. Peer assessors were asked to rate eight statements and the peer-assessed students to rate seven statements on a five-point Likert scale. Both were asked to comment on the advantages and disadvantages of peer-assessors. RESULTS:Overall, 74 of 76 peer assessors and 307 of 308 peer-assessed students participated in the study. 94% (67/74) of peer assessors and 90% (276/307) of the peer-assessed group thought that it is important to have peer tutors as assessors. Of the peer assessors, 92% (68/74) felt confident in giving structured feedback during the OSCE and 66% (49/74) felt they had improved their teaching skills. Of the peer-assessed students, 99% (306/307) were satisfied with their peers as OSCE assessors and 96% (292/307) considered the peer feedback during the OSCE as helpful. The participants mentioned structural benefits, such as lower costs, and suggested the quality of the OSCE was higher due to the use of peer assessors. The use of peer assessors was found to be beneficial for the learners in the form of high-quality feedback and an overall reduction in stress. Furthermore, the use of peer assessors was found to be beneficial for the peer assessors (improved teaching and clinical skills). CONCLUSION:From a learner's perspective, the use of peer assessors for a formative OSCE that is part of a near-peer teaching program aimed at junior medical students is favourable for all. A broad implementation of peer assessment in the formative OSCE should be encouraged to investigate effects on quality and stress-reduction.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC6966898 | BioStudies |

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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