The Efficacy of Peer Assessment on Virtual Collaborative Learning Experiences in Dental Education

Disproportionate effort by individuals participating in group projects has the potential to diminish the beneficial lessons derived from working in a team, such as collaborative and leadership skills, conflict resolution, creativity, and more. This dilemma has been further exacerbated by the lack of face-to-face interaction between group members as a result of the sudden transition to virtual learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This study builds off of previous research supporting the effectiveness of peer assessment in distinguishing students on extreme ends of the contribution spectrum for group assignments by exploring this phenomenon in a virtual setting. Dental students at University of the Pacific, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry evaluated themselves and their peers following multiple collaborative assignments in a course directed by Dr. Parvati Iyer. Individual contributions to each group assignment were assessed by students using an application called Feedback Fruits: Group Member Evaluation which was integrated into the Canvas Learning Management System. The accuracy and effects of the assessments were explored through trends in the amount of time spent on the assignments, measured through the edit tracking feature on Google Docs and Google Slides. Similarly to previous research regarding in-person experiences, the assessments aided in identifying students contributing particularly more or less than their peers. However, the accuracy of the peer assessments decreased over multiple projects. Furthermore, students were not likely to change their level of contribution for future group assignments in response to feedback from prior assignments. Thus, while peer assessment is useful in recognizing disproportionate efforts within group projects, additional steps must be taken to maintain the validity of peer assessment over time and incite behavioral change amongst students.

Author(s): Esha Patel, DDS ’22
Mentor(s): Dr. Parvati Iyer

Personalized Instructional Program Teaching Material Creation Award

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