Peer assessment of a final-year capstone experience for formative evaluation of a pathology curriculum

Jared A Danielson, Amanda J Fales-Williams, Steven D Sorden, Ronald K Myers, Holly S Bender, Eric M Mills
Journal of Veterinary Medical Education 2008, 35 (3): 466-74
In spring of 2005, the authors implemented and evaluated a process at the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine in which third-year students evaluated fourth-year students' performances on an advanced case-analysis assignment. This assignment, called the case correlation assignment, required a thorough integration and explanation of all ante- and post-mortem data for a specific hospital patient. Using a 21-point rubric, the necropsy course instructor and third-year students rated these assignments. Fourth-year students' performances on this assignment were used as an indicator of the success of the pathology curriculum. The authors evaluated the assessment process for feasibility, reliability, and validity. Many-facet Rasch analysis was used to determine item, case, and rater agreement. The assessment process produced good agreement among items and cases (VM4 student competence). Furthermore, most third-year students were able to reliably rate the case correlation assignments with no special training. The evaluation process was cost effective and occurred in the context of regular course assignments, thereby making it feasible. A case can be made that the overall process provides a valid measure of the pathology program's success in preparing students in the area of veterinary pathology.

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