At-risk medical students: implications of students’ voice for the theory and practice of remediation
Article first published online: 30 SEP 2010
© Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2010
Volume 44, Issue 10, pages 1038–1047, October 2010
How to Cite
Winston, K. A., Van Der Vleuten, C. P. M. and Scherpbier, A. J. J. A. (2010), At-risk medical students: implications of students’ voice for the theory and practice of remediation. Medical Education, 44: 1038–1047. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2923.2010.03759.x
- Issue published online: 30 SEP 2010
- Article first published online: 30 SEP 2010
- Received 25 January 2010; editorial comments to authors 13 April 2010, 12 May 2010; accepted for publication 26 May 2010
Medical Education 2010: 44: 1038–1047
Objectives A mandatory remedial programme for students who repeat their first semester at medical school has resulted in large gains in academic performance and greatly reduced attrition. Here, we explore the students’ views of this in order to clarify understanding of optimal remediation practice.
Methods Using a mixed-methods approach, quantitative and qualitative data were gathered from student surveys (n = 333) and three in-depth focus groups. Results were analysed for emergent themes.
Results Remedial programmes for at-risk medical students should be mandatory, but should respect students’ identity as repeaters. Attitude and motivation are key, and working in stable groups provides essential emotional and cognitive support. The learning environment needs to foster changes in students’ ways of thinking and their development as flexible, reflective learners. These endeavours require support from honest teachers with rigorous expectations and good facilitation skills.
Conclusions Successful remediation needs to challenge students’ conceptions of learning, works best in groups with skilled facilitators, and must take into account a blend of cognitive and affective factors and the complex interplay between learner and environment. Given a carefully designed programme, at-risk medical students can learn to make effective and lasting changes to their approach to study, and their views of learning can come to converge with influential ideas in the education literature.