Teaching Development Grants
Completed TDG Projects

Experiential Learning

An Assessment, Reflection and Learning Diary for Experiential Clinical Learning – Evaluation and Moderation


Introduction: Clinical skills training is a complex and challenging process for both students and staff, evaluation of these activities is important for teaching and learning and quality assurance. A structured clinical diary was created for monitoring students clinical performance.

Objectives: To evaluate student and staff feedback on a clinical session diary that allowed evaluation of: students’ clinical performances, self-reflection and goal setting of these and breadth and depth of clinical experiences,

Methods: Questionnaire and focus group interviews gathered data. Descriptive statistical analysis and thematic content analysis were conducted. IRB No UW 12-275.

Results: Staff (79%) and students (61%) felt grading was important and over two thirds of staff and students felt written feedback was important. However, staff felt these were time consuming and may not be read or valued. Ironically students wanted more written and verbal feedback. While 56% of staff felt the use of generic grade descriptors for evaluating clinical performance were useful, 74% of staff 68% of students felt that individual specific skills descriptors would be useful. Ninety-seven percent of tutors and 50% of students felt written self-reflection in the clinical diary should be performed for an unsatisfactory clinical performance. However 54% felt self-reflection was important to aid learning but less so in written format (31%). Students expressed a preference for private reflection. Around two thirds of tutors and 43% students found goal setting useful to enhance learning but less so in written format. Seventy-six percent of tutors considered the CAL useful to document students’ clinical achievements.

Conclusions: Staff training is required for improving qualitative feedback. A private reflection and goal setting dairy should be created for students to allow development of personal development plans which should be monitored to ensure active engagement.

Principal Investigator

Dr. M.G. Botelho, Faculty of Dentistry Contact

Project level

Faculty-level project

Project Completion

October 2013


  1. Clinical Session Diary – The 5-point grading scheme was found to be sufficient for the current practices and was universally preferred to the 3-point scale use for formative clinical grading.  A set of grade descriptors have been created for a set of clinical procedures or Key Skills activities has been undertaken with the help of Professor Claire Wyatt-Smith for the three main clinical treatment areas – the polyclinic, Paediatric dentistry and Oral Surgery. These have been written and are currently being piloted for ease of use and possible improvements. 
  2. Faculty workshops – Through the Teaching Exchange Fellowship Award won by S. Bridges, G Morris and M Botelho, Prof Wyatt-Smith from Australia was invited to visit the faculty and provide hands-on workshops for the creation of grade descriptors for the clinical disciplines. She attended the faculty twice over a 9 month period holding an introductory workshop and later small-group workshops with individual clinical staff from the various discipline to be able to create their own grade descriptors.
  3. University workshop – In addition a Faculty wide workshop was recently held, coordinated by CETL – Standards-based assessment of performance-based tasks on Feb 14th. This was conducted by Dr S Bridges, Prof Claire Wyat-Smith and Dr M Botelho.
  4. Three Conference papers – In addition the outcome of this project has been presented Internationally at the Annual South East Asia Association for Dental Research meeting (SEAADE) in Bangkok, Thailand in August 2013 and at the Annual European Dental Educators Conference in Birmingham in August 2013 and The 39th Association for Dental Education in Europe (ADEE) Annual Meeting, Birmingham, UK, 28-31 August 2013 (Poster) and The 2014 Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia July 9th.
  5. Prizes – At the SEAADE conference in Bangkok I was awarded a prize for Best Oral Presentation for the paper – “Evaluation of a Clinical Diary – Student and Staff Feedback”.
  6. Publication – A paper has been written and will be submitted to the European Journal of Dental Education.