Preprint of: Parratt, JA, Fahy, KM & Hastie, CR 2014, 'Midwifery students’ evaluation of team-based academic assignments involving peer-marking', Women and Birth, vol. 27, no.1, pp. 58-63.
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Background: Midwives should be skilled team workers in maternity units and in group practices. Poor teamwork skills are a significant cause of adverse maternity care outcomes. Despite Australian and International regulatory requirements that all midwifery graduates are competent in teamwork, the systematic teaching and assessment of teamwork skills is lacking in higher education.
Question: How do midwifery students evaluate participation in team-based academic assignments, which include giving and receiving peer feedback?
Participants: First and third year Bachelor of Midwifery students who volunteered (24 of 56 students).
Methods: Participatory Action Research with data collection via anonymous online surveys.
Key findings: There was general agreement that team based assignments; (i) should have peer-marking, (ii) help clarify what is meant by teamwork, (iii) develop communication skills, (iv) promote student-to-student learning. Third year students strongly agreed that teams: (i) are valuable preparation for teamwork in practice, (ii) help meet Australian midwifery competency 8, and (iii) were enjoyable. The majority of third year students agreed with statements that their teams were effectively coordinated and team members shared responsibility for work equally; first year students strongly disagreed with these statements. Students’ qualitative comments substantiated and expanded on these findings. The majority of students valued teacher feedback on well-developed drafts of the team's assignment prior to marking.
Conclusion: Based on these findings we changed practice and created more clearly structured team-based assignments with specific marking criteria. We are developing supporting lessons to teach specific teamwork skills: together these resources are called “TeamUP”. TeamUP should be implemented in all pre-registration Midwifery courses to foster students’ teamwork skills and readiness for practice.