Medical EducationOriginal Article

Development of Peer Tutoring Services to Support Osteopathic Medical Students’ Academic Success

Nicholas Swindle, DO, and Leslie Wimsatt, PhD
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Accepted: June 24, 2015

Published: November 1, 2015

J Osteopath Med; 115(11): e14-e19

Context: Peer tutoring can benefit both tutors and tutored students, but information is lacking regarding establishing and measuring outcomes of such a program at new medical schools.

Objectives: To examine the outcomes of a pilot peer tutoring initiative and explore the implications for long-term program development.

Methods: Fifty-one osteopathic medical students who participated in a pilot peer tutoring program during the 2013-2014 academic year were surveyed regarding satisfaction with the program. Course grade means for the tutors (all courses) and tutored students (specific courses) were analyzed before and after participating in the tutoring experience. Data analyses were performed using frequency distributions, t tests, and qualitative assessment of emergent themes.

Results: The survey had a 76% response rate (39 of 51 students). Both tutored students and tutors were satisfied with the tutoring program. Statistically significant changes in course grades for the tutored courses were noted at 3 to 4 and 8 to 9 months among the tutored students who were most at risk for failure (P=.001). Tutor course grades showed no significant changes for any of the courses in which they were enrolled (P=.445).

Conclusions: Learning gains were realized by the students at greatest academic risk. Additional research is needed to evaluate long-term outcomes.

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