Agreement Among Dental Students, Peer Assessors, and Tutor in Assessing Students’ Competence in Preclinical Skills

Jennifer I. Foley (Corresponding Author), Gillian L. Richardson, Joyce Drummie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study was to determine the level of agreement regarding assessments of competence among dental students, their student peers, and their clinical skills tutors in a preclinical skills program. In 2012–13 at the University of Edinburgh, second-year dental students learned to perform the following seven cavity preparations/restorations on primary and permanent Frasaco teeth: single-surface adhesive occlusal cavity; single-surface adhesive interproximal cavity; single-surface adhesive labial cavity; multi-surface adhesive cavity; multi-surface amalgam cavity; pre-formed metal crown preparation; and composite resin buildup of a fractured maxillary central incisor tooth. Each student, a randomly allocated student peer, and the clinical skills tutor used standardized descriptors to assign a competency grade to all the students’ preparations/restorations. The grades were analyzed by chi-square analysis. Data were available for all 59 second-year students in the program. The results showed that both the students and their peers overestimated the students’ competence compared to the tutor at the following levels: single-surface adhesive occlusal cavity (χ2=10.63, p=0.005); single-surface adhesive interproximal cavity (χ2=11.40, p=0.003); single-surface labial cavity (χ2=23.70, p=0.001); multi-surface adhesive cavity (χ2=12.56, p=0.002); multi-surface amalgam cavity (χ2=38.85, p=0.001); pre-formed metal crown preparation (χ2=40.41, p=0.001); and composite resin buildup (χ2=57.31, p=0.001). As expected, the lowest levels of agreement occurred on the most complicated procedures. These findings support the need for additional ways to help students better self-assess their work.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1320-1324
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Dental Education
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2015


  • dental education
  • restorative dentistry
  • clinical skills
  • clinical competence
  • self-assessment


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