Peer Evaluation in a Didactic Team-Based Learning Dental Hygiene Course
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Peer evaluation in a Team-Based LearningTM instructional strategy emphasizes individual and group accountability, allows students to demonstrate and evaluate effective teamwork skills, and provides constructive feedback to their peers. To ensure students have an opportunity to reward peers who contribute most to team assignments and help individuals recognize the need to be individually accountable to their team, peer evaluations are considered essential components of Team-Based Learning (TBL). As part of a TBL introductory didactic dental hygiene course, students were instructed to complete a peer evaluation for each student in their team by assigning an average of ten points to all members of the team excluding themselves. At least one score was to be 11 or higher and one score was 9 or lower with a rationale for the highest and lowest ratings. Scores for each student were averaged and included as part of the overall course grade. This resource includes the peer evaluation instrument, a template for calculating scores, and a discussion about lessons learned in the process of implementation.
Team-Based LearningTM refers to a series of clearly-defined practices that need to be implemented in a specific sequence. These include permanent and purposefully-formed teams, the Readiness Assurance Process, the 4-S team applications (significant problem; same problem; specific choice; simultaneous report), and peer evaluation within the teams. The trademark is used to protect the meaning of the term and helps to distinguish TBL from other approaches that incorporate small group work.
Keselyak N, Gadbury-Amyot C, Michaelsen L, Simmer-Beck M. Peer Evaluation in a Didactic Team-Based Learning Dental Hygiene Course. MedEdPORTAL Publications; 2012. Available from: https://www.mededportal.org/publication/9079 http://dx.doi.org/10.15766/mep_2374-8265.9079
- To demonstrate effective teamwork skills.
- To evaluate the teamwork skills of peers.
- To work collaboratively to enhance individual and group learning of the course content.
- To provide constructive feedback to peers.
- Peer Evaluation, TBL, Team-based Learning
Interpersonal & Communication Skills
Evaluation of Clinical Performance
Team-based Learning (TBL)
- Clinical Skills/Doctoring
Professional & Faculty Development
- Dental Student
Authors & Co-Authors
Nancy Keselyak, MA
University of Missouri-Kansas City
Cynthia Gadbury-Amyot, EdD
University of Missouri-Kansas City
Melanie Simmer-Beck, MS
University of Missouri-Kansas City
Larry Michaelsen, PhD
University of Central Missouri
Effectiveness and Significance
As dental educators incorporate more interactive and group learning methodologies into the curricula, individual accountability must be factored into course grades. Data from the dental hygiene classes of 2009 and 2010 (n=59) were examined to assess the effectiveness of a peer evaluation tool for holding individuals accountable for their contributions to group assignments in a Team Based LearningTM course. Students were instructed to complete a peer evaluation for each student in their team by assigning an average of ten points to all members of the team excluding themselves. At least one score was to be 11 or higher and one score was 9 or lower with a rationale for the highest and lowest ratings. Scores for each student were averaged. Variability among teams was examined by observing student scores by team. Individual scores of 11 or higher and scores 9 or lower were selected for review of the narrative feedback using the Constant Comparative method to identify common themes.
Variability among individual scores was noted in nine of the ten teams with scores ranging from 12 to 7.4. Two themes emerged from the data as determinants for both high and low scores; Social Interaction and Work Ethic. The peer evaluation method used in this project demonstrated the ability to differentiate between groups where individual students contributed more equally (less variation in averaged scores) and groups where individual students contributed at different levels (greater range of scores within the team). The peer evaluation method described in this study could be a first step to implementing more sophisticated peer assessments.
Special Implementation Guidelines or Requirements
Peer evaluation as described here is an important component the Team Based LearningTM instructional strategy developed by Michaelsen, Knight, and Fink (2004). The TBL strategy includes repeated cycles of three phases: preparation, readiness assurance, and application of course concepts. It also emphasizes active learning with individual and group accountability, a need and opportunity for group interactions, and motivation to engage in discussions about the course content. Peer evaluation provides an opportunity for students to give and receive feedback on their individual contributions to team performance. Designing effective team assignments contributes greatly to the success of TBL and satisfaction with the peer evaluation process. Follow the three “S”: Same problem for all teams, Specific choice requires group discussion to reach consensus, and Simultaneous reporting of the specific choice reached in each group. See the TBL Collaborative (2011) for examples of effective team applications of course content.
It is important to share the peer evaluation tool with students and clearly identify the weighting of peer evaluation in the overall course grade at the beginning of the semester in the course syllabus so students know in advance that teamwork will be assessed as part of their final grade. When they know and understand how much peer evaluation factors into their grade, they can make choices about how much effort they wish to devote to this aspect of the course. When all group projects have been completed, have students complete the form independently in class. Review the instructions to ensure that students list the members of their team in alphabetical order and answer questions about point distribution. Help students understand that the requirements for at least one 11 and one 9 are designed to help differentiate contributions among the group and help them reward those that worked hard for the team’s success.
Some students may be resistant to assigning a score of 9 to someone in the group. This provides an opportunity to discuss that when teams function well, the scores tend to average out so that all students in the team earn approximately the same score. Scoring also allows for recognition to those that worked very hard and those that may have had other priorities. Students generally see this as a fair approach. Our experience has been that when peer evaluation was not used in courses with group activities, students perceived the grading to be unfair when everyone in the group received the same grade. While it is possible for a team to develop a plan that results in all members receiving the same score, "gaming" the system can be avoided by keeping the peer evaluation scoring an independent activity. In the past five years, only 1 in 25 teams using this process resulted in exactly the same scores and that occurred in the first year of implementation. Subsequent evaluations have been clearly introduced and monitored for independent, anonymous peer evaluation. Students have taken the process seriously and provided valuable feedback to their peers.
In addition to the peer evaluation score for each student, the course director can record the narrative feedback on the rationale for the highest and lowest scores from each member. Personal identifiers should be removed in the process. The feedback can help students learn more about their perceived performance in the team. Students who perform well are acknowledged and rewarded with supportive comments. Those that scored lower are provided with some insight into the kinds of adjustments that might be beneficial to them as they prepare to work collaboratively in healthcare teams. The specific feedback is easily copied into the grade book on Blackboard in the comments section when entering the peer evaluation score, allowing students to review their feedback privately. (See Sample Peer Feedback provided.)
This information is made available under the Creative Commons license.
Publications, Presentations, and/or Citations for this Publication
- Michaelsen LK, Knight AB, Fink LD. Team-based learning: a transformational use of small groups in college teaching. Stylus Publishing, Sterling, VA 2002 & 2004.
- Michaelsen, LK, Parmelee DX, McMahon, KK, and Levine RE. Team-based learning for Health Professions Education: A guide to using small groups for improving learning. Stylus Publishing, Sterling, VA 2008.
- Keselyak N, Gadbury-Amyot CC, Simmer-Beck M. Examining Peer Assessment in a Didactic Team-based Learning Course. Poster Presentation. American Dental Hygienists’ Association, Annual Session, Las Vegas, NV, June 24, 2010.
- Keselyak N, Gadbury-Amyot CC, Simmer-Beck M. Examining Peer Assessment in a Didactic Team-based Learning Course. Poster Presentation. American Dental Education Association 87th Annual Session & Exhibition, National Harbor, Maryland, March 1, 2010.