Implementation of a Peer-Evaluation Process

Authors: Gonzalez, Barbara M1; Huntley, Diane2; Anderson, Kelly1

Source: Journal of Dental Hygiene, 1 October 2005, vol. 79, no. 4, pp. 12-12(1)


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Purpose: Traditional dental hygiene education has focused on faculty evaluation of students. Recently, self-evaluation has been encouraged to assist students in enhancing their technical and problem-solving skills. No published studies were found on the use or effectiveness of peer evaluators in dental hygiene education. Peer evaluation was initiated to develop assessment skills without the inherent bias of self-evaluation. The purpose was to enhance clinical skills and evaluative abilities and document continued competence in selected clinical skills throughout the program. This study assessed students' attitudes toward the peer-evaluation process. Students often receive feedback from other students more positively than from faculty and learn by observing others in the same stage of learning.

Methods and Materials: Students in their first clinical semester evaluated classmates on oral hygiene instruction, unit disinfection, polishing, and fluoride administration. Peer evaluators did not assign grades; they indicated only a "satisfactory" or "unsatisfactory" judgment on each item. At an orientation session, students were introduced to the concept of peer evaluation, given copies of the forms, and informed that their evaluations would have no impact on the course grade of the student being evaluated.

Results: Over the course of the semester, 23 peer evaluators marked all items as "satisfactory"; only nine marked any items as "unsatisfactory." Number of U's given ranged from 0 to 13 per evaluator. For the semester, a total of 32 U's were given: 69% on unit disinfection, 16% on oral health instructions, 9% on polishing, and 6% on fluoride administration. The number of U's received ranged from 0 to four per sheet. At the end of the semester, students completed a 12-item questionnaire on attitudes and experiences as both a peer evaluator and the subject of peer evaluation. Using the Binomial Test, significantly more (P < .05) students considered the process enriching and learned much about their own clinical skills. Significantly more (P < .05) students were comfortable with the peer-evaluation process.

Conclusion: This process was found to be valuable for the students, both as peer evaluators and as subjects of peer evaluation.

Document Type: Abstract

Affiliations: 1: assistant professor at Wichita State University 2: associate professor at Wichita State University

Publication date: October 1, 2005

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