The role of self-and peer assessment in dental students' reflective practice using standardized patient encounters

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21 Scopus citations


The aim of this study was to gain insight into the nature of the role played by self-and peer assessment in the development of dental students' reflective practice skills and the value gained through structured encounters with standardized patients. Four standardized patient encounters in an objective structured clinical exam (OSCE) format served as a learning experience for students to demonstrate decision making and communication skills in complex scenarios regarding issues of ethics. Self-and peer assessment and peer-to-peer discourse were used to enhance student reflection. A sample of 16 peer pairs was randomly selected from the population of 108 fourth-year students who participated in the 2014 Clinical Dental Ethics OSCE. Data were collected from self-and peer assessment forms. Five overall performance themes (personal affect, verbal communication, professional demeanor, relationship-building, and patient management) and three student learning themes (application and knowledge, ways to change, and impressed with peer/increased confidence in self) were identified. The results showed that peer assessment ratings were consistently higher than those in the self-assessments, but overall the students deemed both their peers' and their own decision making and communication skills to be quite good. These students rated their experience with the OSCE and self-and peer assessments as positive, appreciating the importance of reflection and learning from their peers. These results provide support for the continued formative use of standardized patient OSCEs and self-and peer assessment to help students develop skills in decision making, communication, professionalism, and reflection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)924-929
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of dental education
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author thanks Dr. Jane Miller, Director, Anne Woll, Associate Director, and the lay actors and staff of the University of Minnesota Academic Health Center's Interprofessional Education Resource Center; Jeffrey Peltola for data management and editing; and last but not least, the student participants in the study.


  • Assessment
  • Dental education
  • Dental students
  • Objective structured clinical examination
  • Reflective practice
  • Self-assessment
  • Standardized patients


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