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How best to teach developmental assessment? A single-blinded randomised study
  1. Simona Feyereislova,
  2. Dilip Nathan
  1. Department of Paediatrics, Nottingham University Children's Hospital, Queens Medical Centre, NHS, Nottingham, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Simona Feyereislova, Flat 21, Royal Standard House, Standard Hill, Nottingham NG1 6FX, UK; Feyereislovas{at}


Objective Developmental assessment is a core paediatric competency, but research demonstrates teaching gaps. This single-blinded, randomised controlled study compares three teaching approaches to developmental assessment in a large group setting based on a student's self-perception and objective competency assessment.

Design Students were randomised into one of the following:

▸ a didactic lecture followed by self-study with online resources (control group),

▸ a didactic lecture and small group tutorial (small group)

▸ a combined didactic lecture and interactive component using audio-visual equipment (Interactive Developmental Teaching-IDT group).

Competency scores (based on the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) scoring system, adapted for undergraduates), mean scores of self-reported confidence and degree of motivation were compared between groups.

Results 114 students participated. Statistically significant difference between mean assessment scores was demonstrated for the small group (38.0; 95% CI 36.5 to 39.6) and the IDT group (37.9; 95% CI 36.5 to 39.4) compared to the control group (34.8; 95% CI 33.2 to 36.4). Students’ self-reported confidence, acquisition of knowledge and degree of motivation to practice was higher in IDT and small groups compared to the didactically taught control group. Teaching costs, if measured by trainer's time, were one-fifth in the IDT group compared to the small group teaching.

Conclusions The IDT is an effective teaching method in large groups, improves competencies compared to didactic lecturing, and is as effective as small group teaching. Adoption of the IDT appears to facilitate learning and can be easily delivered with falling ratios of teachers to students.

  • Medical Education
  • Comm Child Health
  • Paediatric Practice
  • Screening

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