Can Near-Peer Teaching Improve Academic Performance?

Brett Williams, James Fowler


Near peer teaching is becoming increasingly popular within healthcare education. The experiences and effects of near-peer teaching upon the near-peer teachers’ academic performance are poorly understood. In order to address this, the objective of this study was to examine whether a near-peer teaching program improved the overall clinical unit scores of undergraduate paramedic near-peer teachers.

Students in their final year of an undergraduate paramedic, or nursing/paramedic degree were given the opportunity to volunteer as near-peer teachers for a first year clinical skills unit. The overall unit scores in a final year clinical unit of 74 students involved in the near-peer teaching program were compared with a randomly selected sample not involved.

74 students participated in this study as near-peer teachers between 2011-2013 (n=23 in 2011, n=18 in 2012, n=33 in 2013). In each year, the median clinical unit grade of participating near-peer teachers was significantly higher than that of the students not involved in the near-peer teaching program when examined using a Mann-Whitney U Test (71 vs 67, p=0.006 in 2011; 76 vs 72, p=0.007 in 2012; 75 vs 71, p=0.004 in 2013). This study has demonstrated that participation in a near-peer teaching program can result in improved overall clinical unit grades for undergraduate paramedic near-peer teachers. This study has added objective data to the variety of subjective information evaluating the effects of near-peer teaching upon the teachers themselves.

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International Journal of Higher Education
ISSN 1927-6044 (Print) ISSN 1927-6052 (Online) Email:

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