Peer-assisted learning to support attainment in Pharmacy

Rebecca Maccabe, Ricarda Micallef, Dr Mark Carew


Academic mentoring (AM) is embedded in two modules of the Pharmacy course, using a peer-assisted learning (PAL) design. Training and payment are given to student mentors who work with academics and the AM team to create student-centred active learning material. In 2017/18, student attendance at PAL sessions was high, with 87% of the first- and second-year Pharmacy cohorts attending a session. Thirteen mentors supported both modules for a semester each. The impact of PAL in these sessions was measured by quantitative and qualitative analyses, using institutional data on retention, progression, attainment and self-report data. These data showed that students who engaged in PAL were: from traditionally under-represented groups in higher education (HE); specifically-disadvantaged students; from a Black and Minority Ethnic background (BME). PAL-engaging students had higher progression, retention and module pass rates. A survey of fifty mentees found unanimous agreement for the proposal that PAL was valuable and it confirmed that mentors were regarded as enthusiastic, organised and prepared. The formalisation of the AM and PAL process, together with its co-production between mentors and mentees, has increased the professionalism of the scheme and should be supported in the future.


Pharmacy; attainment; mentoring; peer-assisted learning

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