Showcase Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia 2015

Medical students’ perceptions of receiving feedback from their peers in formative long cases (#37)

Annette Burgess 1 , Craig Mellis 1
  1. The University of Sydney, Camperdown, NSW, Australia

Abstract Content (up to 300 words recommended)


The ability to provide and receive feedback are considered required graduate competencies in medical education. Listening to peer feedback can provide an effective and positive learning experience for students1, 2, 3. During peer assessment activities, students are often required to provide feedback to their peers.  The quality of such feedback can be perceived by recipients to be superior and better received than feedback given by academic staff.    The aim of this study was to investigate students’ views on receiving verbal feedback from their peers during their formative long case examination.  The formative long cases are undertaken in preparation for the students’ summative long case examination.


The practice involves having medical students act as assessors of their peers alongside academic examiners, and provide feedback to their peers.


During 2013, Year 4 students (n=48) were assessed on their formative long case presentation and discussion, by a student examiner, alongside an academic co-examiner.  The examinee student was then provided with verbal feedback by both the student co-examiner, and the academic co-examiners. 

To gain insight into students’ views on receiving feedback from their peers, two focus groups were held.   


Of the 48 participants, 35% (17/48) attended focus groups. Students did not like receiving peer feedback during the scheduled examination time, in the presence of the academic co-examiner.   They did value peer feedback, but preferred to receive this in a relaxed environment, after the examination. Students found the presence of their peer in the examination room to be supportive.  

In the formative examination situation, students perceived the feedback given by their  peer co-examiner to be less constructive, less accurate and less helpful than the feedback given by the academic co-examiner.     These finding may have implications for the feedback process for future iterations of the formative long case examination. 

  1. Topping KJ. Trends in peer learning. Educ Psychol 2005; 25 (6): 631-645.
  2. English, R., Brookes, S.T., Avery, K., Blazeby, J.M., Ben-Shlomo, Y. The effectiveness and reliability of peer marking in first year medical students. Med Educ. 2006; 40 (10):965-72.
  3. Gukas ID, Miles S, Heylings DJ, Leinster SJ. Medical students' perceptions of peer feedback on an anatomy student-selected study module. Med Teach. 2008;30 (8):812-4.