Introduction of Peer-Assisted Study Sessions (PASS) to the Year-1 Medical Class of the Health Sciences Course
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The change to the 3-3-4 curriculum in 2012 brought with it the requirement that Year-1 medical students study faculty package courses. Health Sciences I is one of those courses, in which medical students are introduced to various aspects of basic science and organ-specific human physiology essential for understanding how the human body functions. With the aim of encouraging independent learning in a non-threatening environment, the Peer-Assisted Study Session (PASS) was introduced in the course. PASS is a student-driven and voluntary session facilitated by PASS leaders, high-achieving Year-2 medical students. The session can help students master the subject content and gain discipline-specific study skills. It has been proven to prevent remedial stigma by targeting subjects rather than students, and can also improve the transition to university life.
Three PASS sessions led by five PASS leaders were held each week commencing in week 5 of our 13-week course. All PASS leaders had attended an intensive two-day training workshop led by certified PASS supervisors. Each weekly session focused on a particular topic that was the subject of the traditional lectures in the same week. The PASS leaders were each expected to facilitate a class with a maximum of 15 students, which ensured active student participation. The attendees received a brief introduction to PASS before the sessions, which allowed them to interact well with their classmates and appreciate the specific discussion questions prepared. After the sessions the PASS leaders completed PASS record forms to summarise the questions discussed and offer general observations on how the attendees responded. At the end of the course, the attendees were invited to complete a questionnaire– on the effectiveness of PASS.
The overall PASS attendance rates ranged between two extremes, from empty to full classes. We observed active participation of the attendees, eager interaction with other classmates and preparation of specific questions for discussion with the PASS leaders. However, most of the PASS leaders experienced a number of challenges, including the difficulty of running PASS when the class size was too small, not having sufficient skill to prompt for questions when the attendees were confused about a concept, and not knowing how to deal with questions outside the scope of the lectures. The PASS schedule was also crucial, as some students commented that evening sessions were not optimal. A few attendees also misunderstood the aim of the sessions, expecting that they would be used to drill on techniques through answering past exam questions.
Based on the feedback of our PASS leaders, it will be necessary to provide more introductory information to students about what PASS is and to delineate it from any other tutorial, in which suggested answers are normally given. The time and number of sessions will need to be adjusted to even out and maximise attendance. Further administrative and guided support should also be provided by the teaching staff to the PASS leaders to make each session more valuable for independent learning.
All Author(s) ListIsabel HWANG, Wai Man SZETO, Mei Yee LEUNG, Anthony H. W. CHENG, Ann Ka-Yu LAI, Yan JIN
Name of Conference14th Asia Pacific Medical Education Conference (APMEC), Singapore
Start Date of Conference13/01/2017
End Date of Conference14/01/2017
Place of ConferenceSIngapore
Country/Region of ConferenceSingapore
LanguagesEnglish-United Kingdom

Last updated on 2018-23-01 at 02:45