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

8 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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