Evaluation of a new assessment tool in problem-based learning tutorials in dental education.J Dent Educ. 2011 May; 75(5):665-71.JD
The Harvard School of Dental Medicine (HSDM) uses a hybrid problem-based learning (PBL) approach to teaching in the D.M.D. curriculum. Each tutorial group at HSDM is made up of eight to ten students. The objective of this study was to examine the performance of the students in the tutorial sessions as assessed by the tutor. A total of ten tutorial blocks led by twenty-four tutorial leaders were completed at HSDM between summer 2008 and fall 2009. All of the tutors were calibrated to a new assessment system that was developed for student assessment in the tutorials. The students were assessed on three major domains: knowledge acquisition, problem-solving and analytical thinking skills, and personal and interpersonal development. The tutors evaluated the students assigned to their group after the end of each block. Students also filled out a self-assessment form. Simple descriptive statistics were used to summarize the evaluations of the tutors. A total of 290 student evaluations from ten tutorial blocks were available for analysis. Tutors reported that 64 percent of the students preferred to communicate verbally without prompting and 68 percent of students submitted written reports to the groups during tutorial sessions. Tutors reported that a majority of students brought new information to each tutorial session (86.5 percent), brought information that facilitated others' learning (88.7 percent), integrated newly acquired knowledge with previous knowledge (92.7 percent), applied knowledge from self-study to explain issues during case discussions (91.7 percent), asked appropriate questions to stimulate discussions (87.3 percent), generated hypotheses to explain problems under discussion (83.8 percent), evaluated the hypotheses in light of available evidence (85.5 percent), defined and took responsibility for learning goals and objectives (89.3 percent), responded well to criticism (91.7 percent), took a leadership role (74.5 percent), and demonstrated sensitivity to psychosocial issues (88.6 percent). Student communication that tended to take over the group process in a non-contributory manner was reported in only 2 percent of the evaluations. Overall, students participating in PBL tutorial sessions appear to exhibit problem-solving and analytical thinking skills and personal and interpersonal attributes.