Commenced in January 2007
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Basic Science Medical Students’ Perception of a Formative Peer Assessment Model for Reinforcing the Learning of Physical Examination Skills During the COVID-19 Pandemic Online Learning Period

Authors: Neilal A. Isaac, Madison Edwards, Kirthana Sugunathevan, Mohan Kumar


The COVID-19 pandemic challenged the education system and forced medical schools to transition to online learning. With this transition, one of the major concerns for students and educators was to ensure that Physical Examination (PE) skills were still being mastered. Thus, the formative peer assessment model was designed to enhance the learning of PE skills during the COVID-19 pandemic in the online learning landscape. Year 1 and year 2 students enrolled in clinical skills courses at the University of Medicine and Health Sciences, St. Kitts were asked to record themselves demonstrating PE skills with a healthy patient volunteer after every skills class. Each student was assigned to exchange feedback with one peer in the course. At the end of the first two semesters of this learning activity, a cross-sectional survey was conducted for the two cohorts of year-1 and year-2 students. The year-1 cohorts most frequently rated the peer assessment exercise as 4 on a 5-point Likert scale, with a mean score of 3.317 [2.759, 3.875]. The year-2 cohorts most frequently rated the peer assessment exercise as 4 on a 5-point Likert scale, with a mean score of 3.597 [2.978, 4.180]. Students indicated that guidance from faculty, flexible deadlines, and detailed and timely feedback from peers were areas for improvement in this process.

Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic, distant learning, online medical education, peer assessment, physical examination.

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