Quality assurance of peer-assisted learning by measuring academic performance of health sciences extended curriculum students
Keywords:Peer-assisted learning, Extended curriculum programme, PAL, ECP, Academic performance, Assessment
Peer-assisted learning (PAL) has numerous benefits in medical curricula. In the extended curriculum programme (ECP) at a university in South Africa, remedial interventions, such as same year/level PAL, were implemented to improve academic success. This article focuses on the measures to ensure the quality of PAL as an intervention for the academic under-preparedness of ECP students. After the midterm assessment results had been verified, the academically strongest ECP students were appointed as tutors (n=10) for the remainder of the student cohort (n=31). Structured, informal PAL activities were implemented as an academic intervention between consecutive assessments. Analysis of the pre- and post-intervention results showed a statistically significant difference for the whole study population as an increase of 6.1% was recorded in post-intervention results. Nine of the ten PAL groups showed an increase in the combined group results, the highest increase being 15.1%. Although the tutor group did not show a statistically significant difference between pre- and post-intervention results, 80% of the tutors experienced a positive effect on their academic progress by scoring higher post-intervention results. The results showed that same year/level PAL interventions can assist under-prepared ECP students to be academically successful with advantages for the tutors and tutees.
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